Students Rejoice: New York City public school students now allowed cell phones

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Lucy Yang has more from Chelsea. (WABC)

New York City public school students were allowed to have their phones in school for the first time Monday after the city officially ended the cell phone ban started during the Bloomberg Administration.

Each school has developed its own rules for the phones, including allowing students to use them only during lunch and in designated areas.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the change in January, saying the old policy was unfair because it was unevenly enforced.

Cell phones got a big welcome when the new city policy took effect, with mixed reviews from administrators. Hudson High School principal Nancy Amling sees potential benefits.

"Kids use it as an organizer, planner," she said. "They can use it for learning and take notes on it."

At the school for learning technologies, all students are given a laptop. Their personal phones are considered an extension of their pencils, papers and books.

However, not everyone is embracing the open-door policy for phones.

"It shouldn't be an obstacle," student Eli Berisha said. "When it starts becoming an obstacle, when that happens, put back the ban or make more rules."

Advocates said there's a good reason why the Department of Education instituted a system-wide ban on cell phones, believing they are too much of a distraction in class.

It also became a business, an after-school ritual and daily expense for countless public school students who had to pick up their cell phone from storage spots. It was an expense -- typically $1 a day -- that prompted a cottage industry in the city, with a deli near the Martin Luther King schools charging as much as $5 a day.

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