The cell phone nannies

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Last updated April 12, 2019

Thousands of teens who are not allowed to bring their new and old cell phones into school have another choice thanks to a growing industry in New York City: paying one dollar per day to have it looked after in a nearby truck.   Students might not be happy about an expense that ultimately adds up to $180 per annum, but many teenagers have taken to dropping off their cell phones at the start of the day and then picking it up again after school as a matter of routine.

“Sometimes it’s a hassle because not everyone can afford it,” says Kelice Charles, who is a freshman at Manhattan’s Gramercy Arts High School.   “But then again, it’s a living.” Cell phones and similar devices such as the likes of iPads and iPods are banned at all public schools in New York City, though the rule is largely ignored at all of them except for the 88 that have metal detectors.   Otherwise, administrators are happy to tell students “If we can’t see it, we don’t know about it”.

The metal detectors are in schools where there is considered to be a risk of violence in order to spot weapons, but they also detect cell phones.  On the other hand, the trucks that babysit the cell phones can have their own safety concerns, with one being held up in June in the Bronx.

“My whole four years, I’ve been putting my phone in this truck, and it’s been great,” says High School for Language and Diplomacy senior Melquan Thompson.  “Only a dollar.  It’s not bad.”