On July 11, 2011, every parent's worst nightmare happened to eight year-old Leiby Kletzky. Little Leiby got lost walking home from school, was kidnapped and brutally murdered by the stranger he asked for directions. On Friday, July 15, New York's Mayor Michael Bloomberg, spoke these words during his weekly radio show: "If you want to have something that a parent can know where their child is - cell phones. A lot of the smartphones have that technology."
The Mayor says he is accountable for the education system and it is his vision that the Chancellor is putting into place. Ironically, Mayor Bloomberg may believe cell phones increase safety, but he doesn't seem to know that students are forbidden from carrying them into public schools. The Department of Education has enforced this ban since 2006 -- nearly five years.
We should remember that in 2006, the New York City Council and the United Federation of Teachers opposed the cell phone ban.
In the wake of the killing of eight year-old Leiby Kletzky, we, the parents and concerned citizens, want the Mayor to lift the ban.
However, we do not want students texting and making calls during school hours. The safety of all children should not be compromised due to the misbehavior of some.
Therefore, we demand that the current ban on public school students from bringing cell phones to school be immediately lifted and that the parents of any child violating cell phone rules within a school be held accountable for their child's actions.
1. Children may bring their phones to school.
2. Parents must sign a Cell Phone Permission Slip and Use Agreement confirming
a. That they are aware that their child is bringing a cell phone to school and that they are aware of the rules applying to cell phone use within public schools and on public school grounds.
b. That the cell phone rules will include no phone calls or text messages or games during the school day and during any after-school programs.
c. That the school will provide a safe place for cell phones to be stored if a child does not want to carry her/his phone during school hours.
d. That the cell phone will be immediately confiscated if a child violates the rules or if a Cell Phone Permission Slip and Use Agreement is not on file with the school for the phone.
e. That, if a cell phone is confiscated, at least one parent or guardian must come to the school to pick up the phone and sign an incident report.
f. That a child will not be allowed to bring a cell phone to school for the remainder of the school year if there are three cell phone incidents within the school year.
g. That the school will not release a confiscated phone to a parent or guardian if the staff has reason to believe the phone was involved with the commission of a crime or other violation of Department of Education policy. In such a case, the school will only release the confiscated phone to the agency or authority investigating the alleged incident.
h. Any stored or confiscated cell phone that has not been retrieved by the end of the last day of the school year shall by given to the New York City Police Department for use in the prevention of domestic violence.
Please support us in our efforts to keep all children safe in a sensible manner by signing our petition to Mayor Bloomberg.