Thursday, September 20

Liveblogging the City Council hearing: Cell phone furor

Council Member Peter Vallone just got angry about cell phones, an issue that's important to many, many parents.

Vallone: Have you consulted with parents about the cell phone ban?
Guerrier: OFEA doesn't actually manage cell phone policy.
Vallone: 99 percent of parents oppose the cell phone ban.
Guerrier: "It's unfair to deny the feelings of parents who oppose cell phones." I've heard from families whose kids were terrorized by other students using cell phones. But I think some families have issues that require phones. If I polled five parents, I might find one who opposes cell phones.
Vallone: Would it be safe to say that the parents you've communicated with on the issue of cell phones, are the majority in favor of kids carrying cell phones?
Guerrier hems and haws but settles on yes.
Vallone: ... If parents are against this ban, wouldn't it be part of Ms. Guerrier's job to help them?

Guerrier was right that cell phone policy isn't under her purview — Vallone pushed her pretty far on the issue and I have a feeling she'll be getting a reminder from Mayor Bloomberg soon, as Chancellor Klein did when he made the mistake of suggesting the possibility of a compromise back in May 2006. The mayor has made it clear that no matter officials' duties, they aren't to make concessions on cell phones.

Update: Council member Lew Fidler asks Walcott, "Can we — council representatives and parent representatives — sit down with the mayor's office and come to a policy we will all support ... that fosters respect for the rule and those who make it?" Walcott says, "I'm always open to dialogue but ... we will always be at odds." Fidler: "Deputy Mayor, we will see you in court."

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