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NYC continues to stumble over cellphone issue

School administrators, determined to keep phones out of schools, propose to install phone lockers in front of schools.
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Written by ZDNet Editors, Contributors on

The hue and cry over the controversial New York City ban on cellphones has forced school officials to take new measures to address the problem. But is the new solution going to work? asks eSchool News. The new proposal to address the issue of disruptive cellphones in school is to install lockers outside the school and charge students 25 or 50 cents to deposit their phones in the lockers. Critics of the new proposal or pessimistic about the logistics of the plan.

"I wish it would work, but I just know it won't," said Dorothy Giglio, 53, a co-president of the Parent Teacher Association at James Madison High School. "I have almost 4,300 students in my building. I cannot envision 4,300 lockers in front of the building."

New York City schools may have a hard time finding places to put the lockers, not to mention handling the flow.

"We're trying to make a real effort to be responsive to parents who felt that we were not concerned about their ability to reach their kids and their kids' ability to reach them, while at the same time not compromising on our commitment not to let cell phones in the school doors," said David Cantor, a schools spokesman.

Some parents and students say that the lockers will just be a target for vandals and that public education shouldn't charge for the lockers. But some students pay corner stores small fees to hold their cell phones for the school day. Parents clearly want their children to have access to cellphones so they can get in touch with them in emergencies. Teachers, however, find cellphones disruptive in classrooms and a vehicle for cheating on tests.

Some parents filed a lawsuit stating that the ban as it currently stood was too broad and infringed on parents' constitutional rights.

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