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Council Should Vote Today To End Cell Phone Ban, NYCLU Says

The New York Civil Liberties Union today applauded New York City Council leaders for pushing forward legislation that should put an end to the NYC Department of Education’s policy of confiscating all students’ cell phones even if students do not use them during school hours.

The NYCLU has consistently called on the mayor and the Department of Education to revisit the rule, arguing that the cell phone ban disrupts the education of New York City’s children by distracting them and their teachers from the business of learning, putting them in frequent confrontations with police personnel, and eating up class time. The NYCLU has also received numerous complaints from parents whose children must use cell phones to contact them before and after school.

The following can be attributed to NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman:

“The Department of Education’s counterproductive cell phone ban has interfered with education and stopped parents from communicating with their children before and after school, and we’re pleased that the New York City Council is working to compel the Department of Education to abandon it. The Council should now address the broader problem of heavy-handed police involvement in our schools and the utter lack of accountability for police abuses in the hallways. What our schools need are policies that both protect safety and promote a nurturing educational environment.”

The NYCLU’s report on policing in schools, which addresses the cell phone policy among other approaches to school discipline, is available online at
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