New York City is reconsidering its total cell-phone ban in public schools. Previously, NYC wanted to prohibit children from even possessing a cell phone in school (even on silent, even in a locker), to deal with the problem of cell phones in classrooms. The new proposal calls for storage fees of cell phones, ranging from $1 to $4/day, supplied by a private vendor. Yes, the government is directly funding its private entity of choice.
A to the L has some excellent insights into the problems with a Nanny State. The pachyderm echoes her sentiments and adds a few of her own. John Locke stated that the purpose of government is to do for people what people cannot do for themselves. Banning cell phones from schools – to avoid class disruptions – is not the function of the School Board, but rather of the aggrieved teachers. Banning trans fats or discouraging people from buying junk food increases government expenditures without a corresponding societal benefit (previously blogged); it is not a government function, but rather an individual decision, to decide what to eat.
To take the contrapositive of Mr. Locke’s view: the government should not do for people what people can do for themselves. Anyone who cannot figure out what to eat, when to exercise, or cannot operate a cellular telephone is not fit to function in society. The pachyderm fails to see the motivation or the function behind any one of these regulations.