The New York City school district is about to lift a longstanding ban on bringing mobile phones to school.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said that the ban is unfair to lower income students, reports the New York Daily News., because it’s most strictly enforced at schools with metal detectors. De Blasio promised the change as part of his campaign platform, and reiterated it in October.
“Parents should be able to call or text their kids,” he said.
The ban was originally set to be lifted last fall, but principals pushed back, concerned about phones getting stolen reported the New York Times.
School principals will still be able to decide exactly how much kids can use phones — for instance, whether they need to store them in backpacks during school hours, or if they can use them only during lunch, or during class for educational purposes. If schools don’t set a policy, the default will let kids bring them to school as long as they stay hidden.
NYC will now be in the majority nationwide: about one-third of school districts currently ban cell phones, according to a 2013 report from education non-profit Project Tomorrow.