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Sunday, June 3, 2007

Police Raid Middle School To Enforce Bloomberg Cell Phone Prohibition

In Thursday's raid of Booker T. Washington Junior High School, police captured 400+ cell phones. See the NY1 stories here and here and the NY Times blog, Empire Zone. Parents were outraged at the tactics employed. Here is one account from the NY1 story:
"I saw a long line of students over here; I saw a number of police officers herding the children over there; and then they had a rope set to steer traffic so they were going up the stairs single file,” said parent Mark Stolar.
While the random scanning raids, carried out by a special branch of the NYPD, have been continuous in the public schools since the mayor implemented his ban, most don't get the type of coverage this one did. Earlier this year we reprinted a NY Civil Liberties Union account of strong arm tactics employed in a Bronx school.

The rough justice meted out to our children under the mayor's orders contrasts sharply with how the issue is addressed in the types of private schools the mayor's own children attended. A story in the NY Sun about smart phone use in Manhattan private schools included this account:

With his new BlackBerry, a junior at the Dalton School on the Upper East Side, Matthew Ressler, said he plans to keep track of his homework assignments, exam dates, basketball practices, and volunteer activities. "I think it will keep me better organized, and I won't have as many missed appointments," Matthew, 17, said of the device, a recent birthday gift from his mother. "It's really like you're organizing a professional career."
Click here for the full article, including the latest on what models are most popular and how one school supports downloads of the school calendar especially formatted for personal digital assistants.

Our demands are a bit more modest. All public school parent want is for our children to use their phones before and after school -- on their long commutes to/from school, activities and work. Is it so important for the mayor and chancellor to deny families this freedom? The reality is that the vast wealth of the men who control the public school system blinds them to the needs of ordinary people.


Leonie Haimson said...

It is inconceivable that either the Mayor or the Chancellor would have sent their own daughters to school without cellphones.

This is yet another instance of the low regard this administration has for public school parents and their desire to ensure the safety of their children.

There is a profound double standard that exists in this city. One city, two different realities.

NYC Educator said...

Great writing, Patrick. I couldn't agree more.

Pissed Off said...

I felt the same way when I read the story in the Sun. How hypocricital of the mayor to have one set of standards for the rich and another for everyone else.