Rewarding students with cell phones?

Cell Phone Incentive in NYC Schools
February 27, 2008 3:15:40 PM PST
A new program starts today in some New York City schools, rewarding students with cell phones.But considering kids aren't allowed to have phones in school... Does this send a mixed message?

Eyewitness News education reporter Art McFarland spoke to some students.

Students at I.S. 349 will be joined by those at six other middle schools, in getting free cell phones.

"I would like to receive one because I'm doing my best," said student Katrina Robinson.

But there is a catch. The ban on cell phones at school remains in effect.

Others see a contradiction. Carmen Colon is among parents suing the department of education over its cell phone ban.

Colon says it doesn't make sense to encourage something banned in schools, and the incentive sends the wrong message to students about the importance of doing well in school.

The phones are said to be state-of-the-art.

By doing well in school, students in the pilot program will earn extra minutes for the phone and texting, plus other incentives, like ring tones, music downloads and event tickets.

The phones will also be used as tools for school work assignments.

Dr. Roland Fryer says it is a way to reach children.

The program has budget of some two million dollars from private donations. Officials say if it works, it could be extended.