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Confusion Over New York Cellphone Ban in Schools

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Students returning to school this week in New York face a dilemma over what to do with their mobile phones when they enter the school property. Under a City Council law passed last September, pupils are allowed to carry phones with them on their journey to school but not to then carry the phone into the school, causing confusion at the school gates.

"It doesn't make any sense at all," said Lashea Suggs, an eighth-grader at the Young Women's Leadership School. "How can you bring your phone to school and have nowhere to put it when you get to school?"

In 2006, Mayor Bloomberg introduced metal detectors at some schools to help cut down on crime, and one of the items usually impounded were mobile phones. The City Council later voted to formally ban the mobile phones within schools with the aim of forcing the Department of Education to come up with a more sensible policy.

In the meantime, local retailers have seized on the opportunity and offer storage facilities for mobile phones during the day - and the pupils collect their phones on the way home.

The ban has been criticized by parents who say that their children need the mobile phones for personal safety.

A legal action seeking to overturn the ban is expected to be heard next month.

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