$22,800. That is how much money the New York Post estimates New York City high school students hand over each day to make sure their cell phones are safe while they are in class. And all because the Department of Education continues to be incredibly stubborn about its cellphone policy. Even sadder is that most of the kids paying to keep their phones locked up could really use that extra money for things like lunch.

The cottage cellphone storage industry has been around for a few years now, and can be found near basically any school that boasts a permanent metal detector (88 of the city's 1,200 buildings have them). Because of the city's strict-no phone policy, students at those schools who want to have their phones while commuting and after school are forced to drop the devices off either at local bodegas or at special vans which charge $1 a day—and, as we all learned last week, can easily be robbed at gunpoint. At schools without metal detectors the policy has apparently become more of a "don't ask, don't tell" sort of thing. And unfortunately, the schools with permanent metal detectors also have some of the more economically challenged kids around.

"I cut back on food for the sake of my phone,” 17-year-old junior Emily Luna told the Post. "My parents give me $20 a week, but that’s $5 a week that’s gone. I try to cut down on whatever I buy so I have enough to store my phone."

And it really doesn't need to be this way. It is easy to argue that cellphones are a distraction in school and that kids don't really need them, but that misses the fact that many parents want their children to have phones on them—at least for emergency uses. Plus, the way of history is clear and these phones are not going away anytime soon. "A cellphone is absolutely essential in this day and age, and there’s no reason that kids who go to scanning schools should have to pay hundreds of dollars and be unfairly treated in that way," one parent pointed out to the tabloid.

A solution really wouldn't be that hard to find. The city already lets companies operate vending machines out of our schools—why not hire a contractor to operate cellphone storage, too. That way students can still commute with their devices without risking them by putting them in a shady van on the street. Not to mention, the city might make a buck or two. Remember, we're talking about an estimated $4.2 million being spent by students on cellphone storage already!