Monday, June 18, 2012

And it teaches them respect for authority, too

New York City schoolkids are not allowed to carry cell phones to school, by order of the Department of Education—on the grounds that they're a distraction in the classroom, and can be used to cheat or organize other kinds of evil behavior. If a student is caught on school grounds with a mobile phone it will be confiscated, returned only when a parent comes in and asks for it.
From Times of India.
It's not only the kids that don't accept this, it's the parents, for whom it is a safety issue. Now that the phones exist, we all want our children to have one with them at all times so they can call us if they need us and so we can call them if they don't. So they all do have them, naturally. In a well-run middle or high school, like the ones my kids went to, the principal just smiles and says, "If I don't see the phone, I can't confiscate it, can I?" And so everybody including the principal is living in happy defiance of Mayor Bloomberg and his very serious rules.

But this doesn't work for everybody, as the New York Post reported today:
The city’s ban on cellphones in schools is taking an amazing $4.2 million a year out of kids’ pockets, a Post analysis has found.
The students — who attend the nearly 90 high schools and middle schools with permanent metal detectors — pay $1 a day to store their phones either in stores or in trucks that park around the buildings.
The cottage industry has become so profitable, it rakes in $22,800 a day from some of the city’s poorest youngsters, whose families would rather shell out the money than risk their children’s safety.
If there's a metal detector, you see, the principal can't help; the kid gets caught right at the door. And why do some schools have metal detectors? That's because of a fear of weapons, in particular guns, which was certainly justified at one time not too long ago, and may still be. And which schools have them? You guessed it, the ones in the poorest neighborhoods—that's where a schoolchild might have a gun—and where just for that reason the kids need their phones the most.

So why can't the mayor and the chancellor just drop the rule, and let the kids drop the phones in the basket with their keys and coins before they go through the detector and then retrieve them afterwards? Now, thanks to the Post, we have an idea: it's part of the mayor's program for helping out business by bleeding the public's money.

Frankly I had no idea he was concerned with such small businesses. I mean, I'm used to him doing it with Snapple, or Princeton Review, but these little trucks? I guess it's just a case of no child's wallet left behind...
The Pure Loyalty truck outside Washington Irving High School. From Huffington Post's Alona Elkayam, according to whom this guy clears some $2500 a day.


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