Students have gone back to school but their smart phones better known as cell phones and other communication devices cannot accompany them. According to the New York City Department of Education (DOE) policy (Chancellor’s Regulations A-412), these electronics are not allowed on the premises.
The ban on cell phones, IPods, beepers and other such devices is in effect at Spring Creek Towers’ schools say their principals, who notified parents about the policy at the start of classes.
When school began, students were given a letter for their parents that explained the cell phone ban. The parent letter was to be signed and returned to the school. P.S. 346 and I.S. 364 distributed their letters along with other information about the students’ code of conduct on the first day. Middle school students entering Frederick Douglass Academy VIII received their letter during a school orientation in the summer.
The DOE policy does not require schools to search students for the devices. If a student is found with a cell phone, however, it will be confiscated. “As long as we don’t see or hear it, we won’t look for it,” says Dale Kelly, Principal of I.S. 364, explained that the devices must be turned off and always remain in the students’ bags or pockets.
“We understand that parents want to make sure that they can contact their children,” says Principal Yolanda Martin of Frederick Douglass VIII. “Some students travel far, so as long as it does not ring during the school day and is not in plain sight, we don’t search the students for it.”
Every year P.S. 346’s Principal Kevin Caifa distributes the parent letter explaining the cell phone policy, one he rarely has to enforce. He says cellphone possession is not a problem at his school of elementary students.
If a cellphone is confiscated, the policy requires that the student’s parents be informed and the device held until they retrieve it.
The Chancellor’s Regulation has an exception. If a parent requests a medical exemption, supported by a physician note describing the reason, the principal can waive the ban. The student must surrender the cell phone upon arrival at school; at the end of the school day it will be returned. The regulation plainly states, “However, this exemption does not permit a student to use or carry the cell phone while in school.”
DOE officials say the policy was established because it is believed that these electronic communication devices, when in use, serve as a distraction in classrooms. And they have the potential to create problems between students due lost or thief.
To find out more about the cell phone policy dictated by the Chancellor’s Regulations go to www.schools.nyc.gov
BY: AMANDA MOSES
EDITED BY AGNES E. GREEN