2006-12-01 / Columnists

It's My Turn

My Resolution To The Cell Phone Ban In Public Schools
By Uthman Baksh

Uthman Baksh is a student at Beach Channel High School and a member of the Student Council.

Cell phones have become a main staple in our society today, which is a fact. The cell phone ban in public schools in the 80's is still in effect to this day. Back in the 80's, they thought that cell phones will be used as a mere distraction in school. As a result of this up-rise of gang violence, there was a cell phone ban in all New York City public schools to ensure the safety of all students. After recent events like the Columbine school shootings and after 9/11, there is a big debate over whether cell phones should be allowed in schools or not. But in my opinion, the answer is very clear: the cell phone ban needs to be edited, or modified for the 21st Century.

Cell phones are built for anyone, anywhere, to get in contact with anyone, anywhere at any time, even during school hours. Gangs use cell phones to get in contact with each other and cause major criminal activity. In addition to violence plaguing schools, gangs also use cell phones to bring in rowdy intruders, weapons of mass chaos and tragedy. It has even been used to cheat on exams, including the Regents. This past June, a group of students were caught using cell phones on the Regents. Cell phones are a vital tool for sexual predators to contact kids directly without parents knowing. Since cell phones have been responsible for such organized crime, the cell phone ban was in place to limit and even stop crime-like assault and to make it harder for students to cheat.

The cell phone ban reduced those crimes by half over the next 10 years.

Recent events like the Columbine school shootings, 9/11, and even the hostage crisis in Belsan, Russia, raises concerns about the cell phone ban. With all the dangers in schools today, cell phones are a necessity to students everywhere. The first people to phone for emergency services in the Columbine incident were the ones who smuggled cell phones in school almost everyday. Also on a smaller spectrum, there was a sex offender riding the subway. The girls were on their way home from school became his victims. They took a picture on their camera phones and reported the picture to the police. The pervert was nabbed within 24 hours.

The above situations are examples of why students should be allowed to bring cell phones to and from school. They are not advocating that students should go to school with cell phones and cause a nuisance; they all advocate that mobile phones are vital to students living in the 21st Century. With cell phones, lives can be saved in a matter of minutes. That is why students should be allowed to carry phones in schools or at least to and from school. Hopefully, this will convince NYC public schools to allow cell phones to be brought to and from school. I am not advocating that students should become rabble-rousers with cell phones. I am saying that students should be allowed to bring them at least to and from school, especially after the recent events like school shootings and terrorism.

I had an option to propose a solution to the cell phone ban. At first, I proposed a locker system. The locker system had someone verifying that the student is allowed to bring a cell phone to school as long as they weren't suspended. Overall, this proposal is about the cell phone ban in public schools. But alas, it was of no avail. They were discussing it at City Hall and they thought it was too expensive an idea and too time consuming.

Since that failed, my other proposal is a system outside of school where students can leave their phones during the day other than at school. Students and parents can trust this third party rather than at school, where they will never get it back. The students leave their phone with the holder for the day and get it back at the end of the day. This way, the school staff can teach without the students' phones ringing in the middle of class and the students can have their phones to go to and from school and be safe.

But there is a drawback, the school can't assume any responsibility if anything happens to the phone with this system, if parents are willing to take the risk and they will most certainly do.

If the Department of Education can follow this resolution, then they can make students, parents and the faculty of the DOE happy, safe and secure.

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