Lest anyone think that the Mayor and Chancellor might be a bit chastened by yesterday’s overwhelming 46-2 City Council veto override of a bill insuring children’s right to carry cell phones to and from school, that notion was dispelled by today’s events at Forest Hills High School. The DOE, in its infinite wisdom, sent legions of security agents this morning to the Queens school to scan and search students, and to confiscate dangerous weapons such as cell phones.
Yes, on the anniversary of 9/11, the DOE sees fit to heighten the anxiety of parents and children who have likely spent much of the day reliving those unspeakable events on TV and radio. To have kids stand in line while uniformed agents confiscate the very items that afford them and their parents a vital lifeline in these dangerous times. To disrupt the school day of the very schoolchildren that the Mayor’s ill advised and abusive cell phone ban purports to protect from distractions. One wonders if they were trying on purpose to recreate a piece of the anxiety and fear that people experienced on that day six years ago, in a perverse sort of 9/11 commemoration. Or, were they just getting back at those parents who had the temerity to go through their elected representatives to redress what they felt was an ill-advised policy.
Ironically, my daughter’s Constitutional Law class (at a different school) discussed this very issue today. At first, it seemed that the teacher had misinformed them when he told them that in 90 days, when the new Council law takes effect, they will be allowed cell phones in school as long as they are kept away and not used. But then I realized, the teacher is correct. It’s the Mayor who is misinformed and thinks he can illegally continue to confiscate the phones in violation of the Council law. Unfortunately, it will likely take a court ruling to set him straight.
PS: If anyone at Forest Hills HS, or any other school that experienced scanning today on 9/11, is willing to talk to the press, Yoav Gonen, a NY Post reporter, is interested in hearing from you for a possible story. He can be reached at 212-930-5766.