In Price v. New York City Board of Education , the parents of New York City public school students challenged a school cell phone ban issued by the Chancellor of the New York City public school system.
The Chancellor called for the ban of cell phones due to their use for "seriously disruptive" and "criminal" purposes.
School officials had found students using their devices to "take and exhibit pictures with inappropriate sexual content," cheat on exams, make "crank calls to teachers," and to otherwise interfere with the maintenance of school order.
Parents countered the ban was "arbitrarily and capriciously" implemented and, since cell phones are a "vital communication tool and security device," infringed upon a constitutional right of providing for the "fundamental care, custody, and control of their children."
Finding the policy "central to the schools' educational mission," the New York County Supreme Court dismissed the parents' case.
On appeal, the Appellate Division, First Department, was of the opinion that the rule was "nonjusticiable" (or not subject to challenge) since it would require the court to interfere with what was essentially "school administration" -- a function exclusively delegated by law to the Chancellor and other officials.
With that noted, the AD1 concluded that the restriction was necessary to preserve school order and discipline, particularly in view of the phones' "surreptitious" uses and other distractions, including the tendency to ring at inopportune times.
While empathic to the parents' position, particularly the need to reach children during an emergency, the AD1 viewed the ban as unassailable since it did "not directly and substantially interfere with any of the rights alleged by the Parents."
Will these litigants be calling upon the New York State Court of Appeals?
To download a copy of the Appellate Division's decision, please use this link: Price v. New York City Board of Education