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The police made middle schoolers cry! The NY Times has a great article about the mother lode of electronic gadgets that the cellphone police seized during a visit to Middle School 54 on the Upper West Side. While the police were probably more interested in weapons, since public schools prohibits cellphones and other electronic devices, the NYPD came up big.

The Police Department was there to carry out a random sweep for prohibited items, requiring all 900-plus students at the school to walk through metal detectors before entering.

Their total haul included 404 cellphones, 69 iPods, 23 other electronic devices, two knives and one imitation gun.

“People were crying,” said Samantha Haber, 14, an eighth grader.

Officially, the X-ray scans are meant to catch dangerous items. But since the unannounced sweeps began in April 2006, they have mostly detected cellphones, infuriating parents who see them as lifelines and have loudly opposed the checks.

Get this: The devices, which were confiscated, must be picked up by parents and "no earlier than Tuesday." One parent said, "I’m filing a criminal complaint that they stole my phone.” The article has other fun observations - check it out, if you live and die by your phone.

Last month, a judge ruled that the Department of Education can continue to ban cellphones, as there is no "constitutional right to bear cellphones." Still, students and parents, who want their children to have access to a line of communication in case of an emergency, plan to appeal.

Photograph by S.D. on Flickr