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All Democratic Candidates Say They'll Lift Cell Phone Ban In Schools

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TWC News: All Democratic Candidates Say They'll Lift Cell Phone Ban In Schools
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A mayoral forum on the future of technology in the city turned into a critique on the Bloomberg administration's ban on cell phones in city schools -- every candidate said they plan to lift the ban. NY1's Courtney Gross has the story.

Every democratic mayoral candidate said at a forum on the future of technology in the city Friday that on day one of their administration they would do away with a longstanding ban on cell phones in schools.

"It's just reality. It's just life now," mayoral candidate and City Comptroller John Liu said. "It doesn't seem to make a whole lot of sense to continue this kind of ban. The kids are taking them to school anyway."

"I mean you don't want it on in the classroom and distracting from education and what's going on there," mayoral candidate William Thompson said. "But you want students to be able to bring their phones to school. It's a safety issue."

The current mayor has long argued cell phones in the classroom would only be a distraction or could lead to cheating.

A spokesperson for the mayor rebuffed the candidates' suggestion on Friday, saying students have enough distractions.

Nonetheless, some parents have said they want their children to have them in case of an emergency.

And it just so happens, some of those parents are now running for mayor.

"It's a safety issue for parents," candidate Bill de Blasio said. "If you can't keep track of your kids, you don't know they are safe."

Besides cell phones in schools, the mayoral candidates covered another topic loosely connected to the tech sector in New York City -- whether or not unmanned drones should patrol city streets.

"I do not think drones are a safe security measure in New York City," candidate and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said.

Candidates Sal Albanese, de Blasio, Liu and Thompson all said they would not want drones used for surveillance.

Only one candidate at Friday's forum, Adolfo Carrion, left the door open to drones.

"I think the responsible answer is you use the tools that are available to you and to your society for surveillance," Carrion said.

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