by Choudhury Rahman
Mayor Bill de Blasio and his administration recently announced that the current city-wide cell phone ban in schools would be lifted. The lift will be implemented on March 2nd, 2015 reversing the more than decade long-ban instituted during the Bloomberg administration. This change in policy will allow principals of New York City high schools to establish their own policies in regards to the cell-phone issue.
Not all students will be directly affected by the ban lift. According to wnyc.com, prior to this coming lift, many principals and teachers didn’t strictly enforce the cell-phone ban. Many students were still using their cell phones relatively freely within cafeterias, hallways, and even classrooms.
Even in Brooklyn Tech, many students admit to using their smartphones for a variety of purposes: usually for homework, but equally often for music and games. It is common to see students take out their phones in the library and also in the lunchroom, though many students refrain from doing so due to the watchful eyes of lunch ladies and deans.
Xavier Perez ’16 acknowledges that it is relatively easy for a student to use their phone in Tech. “Prior to the ban, all students had to do was take their phone out of their pocket and use it. There weren’t too many risks if the student was careful, and I think the [lifting of the] ban won’t have much of an effect on students in Brooklyn Tech.”
Ivan Wen ’16 agrees. “It may make students much more blatant about using them, but that’s about it.”
But in other, low-income schools, located largely in the inner city, the ban lift could potentially have a profound effect, depending on the policies the principals choose to institute. In these neighborhoods, entire businesses were started up allowing students to pay to have their phones secured in a van during the school hours. According to nyc.gov, the new policy could cost a family on average, $180 per year.
Bill de Blasio hoped that the ban lift would give students and parents the ability to communicate during school. Staying in touch is not the only result, however.
Zawad Islam ’18 sees negatives in the ban lift as well. “Many students will see their grades go down because of extensive gaming, texting and other stuff. While it may help students and parents communicate, it may also be detrimental for the students themselves.”
Dr. Eggebrecht, a physics teacher in Tech, takes the opposing stance. He says that the ban was silly and that giving students permission to use their phones could facilitate learning. “Students could use their phones to take pictures of their work and use the internet for classroom activities.”
The effects of the ban still remain up to the principals of NYC schools. Many teachers still remain unsure of the outcome and agree it ultimately may not have an effect at all.