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Last call?

Last call?

My home, New York City, has given me yet more blog fodder to share with you this week, with the latest security-related happenings centered around the potential ban of cellphones in city schools.

Nearly a decade after then-NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio lifted the ban of cell phone use by students in schools, the mayor who originally implemented the systemwide ban in the first place – Michael Bloomberg – came out and called for the reinstitution of the ban of phones in city schools in his blog on his own website,, on June 24.

The billionaire businessman and philanthropist cited the Los Angeles Unified School District’s recent vote to ban cellphone use during school days, and that NYC should follow suit.

Bloomberg pointed out that student achievement levels were higher when he banned cell phone use in schools during his tenure as NYC mayor, adding that currently, “public support for mobile-phone bans has grown nationally — and across party lines.”

Right now, cell phone policies vary from school to school in NYC. As a parent of two high school students, I tell them not to take out their phones during class, because, God forbid, their precious phones are taken away.

Believe me, I’m very much aware that kids’ cellphone use can be very disruptive, especially during class time, much to the dismay of frustrated teachers. Browsing social media, playing video games, listening to music, whatever the case may be, students should keep their cell phones in their pockets, backpacks or desks when class is in session.

I also understand the harmful effects that increased smartphone use could have outside of school as well, including a higher risk of depression, sleep deprivation and overall decline in the mental health and well-being of children and teenagers.

Of course, this is a security publication, so I must address how this potential smartphone ban could impact the safety of students at schools in cities and states across the country.

Again, speaking as a parent, we’ve witnessed the horrible mass shootings at schools across the U.S. over the last two decades. I know I would be panic stricken if I could not communicate with my children during school emergencies. A cell phone offers that line of communication between parent and child that is so critical if we are not notified of what’s going on during a school incident.

Here in NYC, Schools Chancellor David Banks and Mayor Eric Adams are expected to announce in the coming days how the cellphone ban will be implemented, with reports indicating that students would have to relinquish their phones in some fashion before entering the school building and getting them back at the end of the school day.

The idea of banning cellphone use in schools had gained steam throughout the country. As NYC appears days away from announcing a smartphone ban, New York Governor Kathy Hochul is apparently considering a statewide ban on cellphone use in schools.

California Governor Gavin Newsom has also called for statewide restrictions on cellphone use. Florida and Indiana already have laws banning cellphones from classrooms, while Oklahoma, Kansas, Vermont, Ohio, Louisiana and Pennsylvania have all introduced similar legislation. Earlier this year, Ohio passed a law requiring districts to develop policies that would limit student cellphone use.

Bloomberg concluded his blog by saying that “it’s encouraging that more elected leaders are finally acknowledging what teachers have known for years: Mobile phones are a problem that children can’t be expected to manage. Let’s do students the great service of taking that problem out of their hands.”

Unfortunately, Mr. Bloomberg, by taking that problem out of students’ hands, safety and security in schools may become an even bigger problem.



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