The more than 1 million students attending schools in the nation's largest district now are allowed to bring cellphones to school under a new policy that went into effect this week in New York City.
The new regulation states that students in New York City public schools are permitted to bring an array of devices to school: cellphones; computing devices, and portable music and entertainment systems such as iPods and mp3 players. The devices cannot be used during tests or quizzes; during fire drills or other emergency preparedness exercises; and in locker rooms and bathrooms.
The school system's Office of Safety and Youth Development says each of the more than 1,600 schools and programs has crafted a version of the policy specific to its needs and circumstances.
"Every school has established its own school-based cellphone policy," the office stated. Students who bring a cellphone to school must use it only in accordance with their school’s cell phone rules."
When announcing the coming policy change in January, Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke as a parent and said the previous policy banning cellphones reflected a lack of understanding of parents' need to be able to communicate with their children.
"We used to have a policy that didn't understand the reality of parents," de Blasio said. "We're now going to make this a policy that works with parents so they can do their most important job. And we're doing it in a way that really respects the needs of our educators to do their job and we spend a lot of time striking that balance."