Parents revolt over mobiles ban

26th May 2006 at 01:00
UNITED STATES. A drive to rid New York schools of mobile phones has sparked a wave of protests from parents who say they are a vital for checking on pupils'

safety when travelling to and from school.

In recent weeks, parents have held mass rallies, press conferences, threatened to sue, gathered 3,000 signatures for a petition and sponsored legislation to repeal the ban, according to Carmen Colon, of the Association of the New York City Education Councils, which represents parents.

Mobile phones are outlawed in New York schools under a 1987 ban on pagers and other communication devices, but implementation of the rule was patchy until random school weapon scanning was brought in last month.

Airport-style weapon screening was brought into schools on April 26 using metal detection machines at school entrances. Hundreds of mobiles have also been caught in the dragnet, and temporarily confiscated by staff.

New York schools spokeswoman Kelly Dever said officials stand behind the ban, despite the protests. "Our experience in allowing them in school is that they're used for text messaging, taking photographs and in exams."

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