School Criminalizes Kids, Confiscates Electronics
Students at an Upper West Side middle school were marched through metal detectors, and pretty much everything that required batteries was confiscated. Whilst it can be argued that "communication devices" have been banned at schools for some time, there is such a thing as too much enforcement. Will someone explain to Mayor Bloomberg that an iPod isn't a "communication device"?
The Police Department was there to carry out a random sweep for prohibited items, requiring all 900-plus students at the school to walk through metal detectors before entering.
Their total haul included 404 cellphones, 69 iPods, 23 other electronic devices, two knives and one imitation gun.
“People were crying,” said Samantha Haber, 14, an eighth grader.
Officially, the X-ray scans are meant to catch dangerous items. But since the unannounced sweeps began in April 2006, they have mostly detected cellphones, infuriating parents who see them as lifelines and have loudly opposed the checks.
The Education Department first banned “communication devices” around 1988, when the electronic toy of choice was a beeper. But the rule was not strictly enforced until last year, when the Bloomberg administration took action to prohibit cellphones in schools.
The sweep yesterday was one of the biggest so far since the crackdown. An unannounced visit to a Queens school on Wednesday yielded only 40 cellphones, 16 iPods and 33 unspecified electronic devices. The police collected only 83 cellphones during a sweep at a Bronx school a week ago, but also took 37 items like headphones, batteries and can openers — all forbidden.