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NYC mulling pay-per-use phone lockers for students

Chris Ziegler

In our formative years we were kept on the straight and narrow with wireless leashes, and we got in touch with our folks the old-fashioned way -- two cans and a string -- and that's the way we liked it. Modern high school students, though, have a decidedly different take on the best way to drop a line, ditching pay phones (or, heaven forbid, the principal's office) in favor of trusty cellphones. Yipes, seems we've got a little hiccup: New York City's public schools have recently started clamping down on its longstanding ban on wireless goodies on school grounds, leaving a healthy percentage of tech-savvy pupils in the lurch. Parents aren't too happy, either, noting that it's the most effective way to keep tabs on lil' Johnny and Susie from afar in the event of an emergency. School officials are responding with the standard arguments, distraction and the threat of cheating, and are coming to the table with a proposal to install lockers outside schools for the sole purpose of housing phones during the school day. Sounds to good to be true, right? A rare case of taxpayer dollars being put to exactly the right use at exactly the right time, you say? Well, there's a catch: thanks to the crushing cost of said lockers, students would likely pay 25-50 cents a day for the privilege of being separated from their technology for a few hours. Needless to say a legal fight seems inevitable, though parents, teachers, and the school board will try to iron things out on the 18th of this month with a little face-to-face time. Of course, they could just give in and make texting a school subject, but we're not really seeing that happen.

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