Thousands of New York City teenagers who can't bring their cellphones to school have an option: pay a dollar a day to leave the iPhone or BlackBerry in a truck parked near their school. (Oct. 4)
[Location: New York]
[VO: teenagers, phones, truck]
[SOT/Gabrielle Beckford, Senior]
"They won't allow us to bring electronics into the school building so every morning we have to pay a dollar to put our phone in and we get a ticket and we get out of school you hand your ticket in and get your phone back."
[SOT/Krista Mayes, Freshman]
"I think we should be allowed to bring our phones cause some of us might need to get in contact with our parents and we can't like go to an office every day."
[SOT/Zaire Long, Junior]
"I've got to know what's going on in my life man. I'm a basketball player so I have to know the professional basketball, my high school basketball, college basketball I've got to know everything about basketball that's going on inside the world while I'm in that school building for however amount of hours I'm there."
Q: Do you think it's a good policy that you don't have your phone in there overall?
"Yes. Pretty good. If I had my phone in there I would be distracted from my work."
[SOT/Gabrielle Beckford, Senior]
"I think they should trust us to have electronics in school cause this just makes me like we're young kids, like toddlers, who can't handle our electronics like we learned the lesson that we're not going to use them during school periods or class periods or class time.
[SOT/Milo Kearney, Sophomore]
"Facebook, my text messages, Instagram, stuff like that, phone calls and what not, that's about it."
Thousands of New York City teenagers who can't bring their phones to school have an option: Pay $1 a day to leave the iPhone or BlackBerry in a truck parked near their school.
Students may resent the expense that adds up to as much as $180 a year, but the trucks are a regular feature of several city neighborhoods and leaving a phone there has become as routine as getting dressed and riding the morning-rush subway.
Cellphones and other electronic devices such as iPods and iPads are banned in all New York City public schools but the rule is widely ignored except in the 88 buildings that have metal detectors. Administrators at schools without metal detectors tell students, "If we don't see it, we don't know about it."
Schools where violence is considered a risk have metal detectors to spot weapons but they also spot phones. They include the Washington Irving Educational Complex in the bustling Union Square area, a cluster of small high schools housed in a massive century-old building that used to be one big high school.
The converted Access-A-Ride van that's parked a block away on school days is painted bright blue and labeled Pure Loyalty Electronic Device Storage. The owner of Pure Loyalty Electronic Device Storage is Vernon Alcoser, 40, who operates trucks in three of the city's five boroughs. Alcoser would not speak to The Associated Press even though the names of news outlets that have run stories about Pure Loyalty are affixed to his trucks. He may have become press-shy after a rival cellphone truck was held up in the Bronx last June and some 200 students lost their phones.
Pure Loyalty employees chatted but would not give their names as students from the Washington Irving complex lined up on a drizzly morning to surrender their phones.
At the truck window, each student exchanged a phone and a dollar for a numbered yellow ticket.
The cellphone trucks are apparently unique to New York City, a place where roving entrepreneurs sell flags at parades and water at the beach.
For parents the phone may be the only way of communicating with a teen who commutes two hours to school and gets home at 7:30 p.m. after sports practice.
Department of Education spokeswoman Marge Feinberg said only, "We have a longstanding policy that does not allow students to use cellphones in schools. It is in Chancellor's Regulation A-412, and there are no plans to change this."