Lynbrook school board upholds cell phone ban despite student petition


The Board of Education for the Lynbrook School District kept a cell phone ban at Lynbrook High School in place at its Feb. 8 meeting, despite a student petition urging it to change the edict.

The policy on cell phones, which was instituted in 2007, states that, “cell phone use is prohibited by students while in the school building, beginning at the time they arrive into the school building and continuing until the time they exit the building.” The board announced a revision to the policy, stating that exceptions can be granted by a supervising adult in an emergency situation, or for instructional purposes, but otherwise it remains intact.

“An emergency situation has and will continue to mean just that,” Melissa Burak, the superintendent of Lynbrook Public Schools, told the Herald. “Should the building need to implement an emergency protocol or should [a student] become very ill in an emergency type situation, we would not deter students from notifying family.”

During the Jan. 11 board meeting, Sarah Swerden, the student government president, asked the board to modify the policy by permitting cell phone use in the library and cafeteria. She said designating those rooms as safe spaces would enable students to access homework and school-related emails during free periods.

Kyle Hassig, a senior at the school, handed the board a petition with more than 300 signatures on it, requesting the administrators to look into the policy. He added that he often has trouble gaining access to the limited computers in the library during his free period.

Burak said that the board was looking at the issue through a different lens than the students, and that the misuse of cell phones and social media does not contribute to the educational environment at the high school. The board eventually determined that the policy should remain unchanged aside from the small revision. “Nothing has changed,” Burak said.