Friday, August 10, 2007

What's for dinner? Bloomberg's comments re cell phones

As reported below, yesterday the Mayor vetoed the legislation that would grant students the right to carry their cell phones to and from schools -- and would obligate DOE to set up a process to make this possible.

The Council passed the original bill 46-2 and is expected to override his veto easily, though the administration has already signaled it doesn't intend to comply with the law in any case -- which sets up a legal battle as to whether the Council has the authority to ensure this right for students.

Today on his weekly radio show, Bloomberg once again trivialized parents' concerns about what would happen in emergencies such as another 9/11, when several downtown schools were evacuated and it was impossible for them to locate their children for many hours, and also about unsafe situations that occur regularly when students are traveling to and from school.

Instead, the Mayor said that parents just want to tell their children what’s for dinner:

If your question is do you want to have fish or chicken for dinner tonight, that’s not something we should pull your kid out. If it’s an emergency, call the school. If it’s not an emergency, it has to wait. There’s nothing more important for our children than getting them the education they’re going to need to survive and you can’t have both.” (You can listen to the full radio show here.)

Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who is taking a rare step in openly defying the Mayor, released a statement, which said in part:

“We believe our legislation puts the onus on the DOE to provide that a student who arrives at school with a cell phone in the morning should have that phone for use when traveling home at the end of the day.”

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