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Cellphone ban in New York City schools could begin by early 2025. Here's the city's position.

Top city leaders say an across-the-board cellphone ban will return to NYC schools
Top city leaders say an across-the-board cellphone ban will return to NYC schools 01:49

NEW YORK -- Top New York City leaders say an across-the-board cellphone ban will return to city schools.

The impending prohibition will make a comeback as phone and social media prohibitions pick up steam nationwide. Last week, Los Angeles announced its ban and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul is considering a state-wide ban.

Hundreds of schools across the five boroughs have their own cellphone restrictions, rules that were made at the school level after New York City Public Schools lifted a citywide ban on phones in 2015.

"Kids are fully addicted now to phones"  

Schools Chancellor David Banks said a new ban could begin as early as January 2025. He addressed the issue on a TV news program on Tuesday morning.

"They're not just a distraction, kids are fully addicted now to phones," Banks said.

He shared very few details of how the policy will work.

"We'll have the kinks worked out in the next couple of weeks," Banks said.

Mayor Eric Adams weighed in a few hours later.

"Everyone knows that cellphones are a distraction. Many young people see that it is a distraction. Sometimes used as bullying and other things in school," Adams said. "One of the biggest pushback, believe it or not, is parents. They want to have accessibility to their children throughout the day. We need to find a sweet spot."

CBS New York reached out to the United Federation of Teachers for reaction. Its leaders said the union will have something to say after the ban is officially announced.

Individual NYC schools' policies are hit or miss  

Some New York City schools collect phones and others do not.  

Of those that do, some individual principals have been criticized for being inconsistent, or lax enough that some students find ways around them.

Student Wyatt Fowler explained how it's working at Martin Luther King Junior High School on the Upper West Side.

"When we come in, we swipe our cards and then we put our phones in the bins and then we walk through the metal detectors and then we go to class, and at the end of the day they bring it," Fowler said.

Some parents said they worry they could lose touch with their kids during emergencies, and some students with part-time jobs or who help their families with caregiving said they need their phones all day long.

Keyonna Mitchie, who has four kids, said she supports a city-wide ban.

"It's a distraction," she said. "If I know they're at the school I'm perfectly fine with their phone being confiscated for the time being, but after that they need their phones back."

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