Several years ago, the New York City school district decided to solve the problem of in-class cellphone use by banning the devices in schools completely, which as you might expect -- hasn't gone over very well with text-happy students. Teachers enjoyed having the devices out of the classroom, while parents were annoyed that they couldn't reach their children in emergencies. In a feeble effort to appease parents, officials have now come up with an even dumber proposal: charging students to store their cellphones in lockers outside school entrances, despite a lack of funds or room for new lockers. The idea being kids could at least communicate with mom and pop on the way to school, and during off-campus breaks. Parents don't like this either -- and argue that the school shouldn't profit off a bad idea, and that it discriminates against poor students who can't pay the rental fee. One solution would be the legalization of short-range jammers for use in schools, though that would impede teacher and legit wireless communications, and as we've discussed, the more pervasive jamming technologies are (in theaters, hotels, schools, etc.), the more collateral communications issues will surface. Perhaps Mayor Bloomberg should start building giant faraday cages anywhere cellphones aren't wanted, or line school walls with signal absorbing magnetic wood. If cost is such an issue for many school districts, it's still not entirely clear why confiscating phones from disruptive students is such an unworkable solution.
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