Cell phone controversy

Is Brooklyn in the house?

I saw on the news last night, and read in the paper this morning, a story about some students that were arrested during large student protests at a Brooklyn high school for causing a disturbance. It occurred when the students refused to give up their cell phones as per NYC public school rules (the rule has been in place for sometime, but I believe based on my expose on reggaeton and ringtones (4/5/06), Mayor Bloomberg has finally decided to act).

One teacher said he was happy the students were protesting because it was a nice civics lesson, but he hoped they could apply their enthusiasm to things like political elections or war protest. Sorry Mr. Kotter – but I think if students place that big a priority on their Nextel, they could give two sh**s about the president or the war in Iraq (which acording to the students polled are George Washington and Vietnam).

Some of the kids on the news were saying if there is an emergency and their parents need to reach they need their cell phones. Hmmmm, I don’t know, but hopefully a parent knows the following:

1)where their child goes to school

2) when their child is at said school

3) a phone number for said school

4) their child’s name

Now I know that in many cases the parent does not know their child’s name (Shawn Kemp, Larry Johnson – this means you), but if that is the case parents like that are far too busy trying to have more kids to care about their existing child’s/children’s emergencies.

Furthermore, if the child has an emergency (ipod battery not charged, sex with the teacher is not as good as it used to be) they can always use one of those primative devices known as a pay phone to call home.

Somehow I feel that these kids do not get nearly as upset when they get a D on their history test or when they leave their backpack at home (on the subway I am often amazed at how many future Fortune 500 CEOs go to school routinely without backpacks, books or condoms).

I think the reason the city gave for the ban makes no sense though – “cell phones are disturbing the learning process.” That is what it should do – kids that want to play with their ringtones, send pictures and talk all day should not be stopped from doing so. What will happen to industries like telemarketing, soft core porn and loitering if all the kids pay attention in class? To sum up my point – I would like to give a summary of a joke comedian Anton Shuford (Philly comic) has told:

“I was a teacher, 4th grade, and I had a student named _____.” The kid was 13 in the 4th grade. So I asked _____ one time, ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’ and he said real tough, ‘I don’t want to be nothing.’ So I looked at him and said, ‘Well, young man you are on your way.’ I stopped assigning him homework halfway through the year. I mean who am I to mess up a kid’s dream.”

So I say to the high school students of NYC who want to keep their cell phones, ipods, PSPs, and vibrators in school – this is one comic who will not stand in the way of your dreams.

9 days until The Height of Comedy