TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Violence Prompts Wisconsin School Cell Phone Ban

Violence Prompts Wisconsin School Cell Phone Ban

Carrie Antlfinger, AP (
Sat, 27 Jan 2007 23:35:04 -0600

By CARRIE ANTLFINGER, Associated Press Writer

School brawls have gone high tech, with students using cell phones to
call in reinforcements, in one case requiring police and pepper spray
to break up a fight that swelled to about 20 family members on school

The fracas earlier this month, in which six students and three adults
were arrested, was the latest in a surge of cell phone-related fights
and prompted Wisconsin's largest school district to ban cell phones in
its 217 schools beginning Monday.

"We consider (cell phones) almost as weapons because when they call,
we're the ones out in front and we don't know these people are coming,"
said Mike Heese, safety security assistant at Bradley Tech High School,
where the fight happened.

Prosecutors are also taking a tougher stance. Adults who harm anyone
at a school could face felony charges, said Milwaukee County District
Attorney John Chisholm. Penalties in the past were often fines for
disorderly conduct.

Milwaukee joins a growing number of school districts that prohibit or
limit cell phones. But many bans, including those in New York City,
Los Angeles and Boston, were imposed because the phones cause
distractions or are used to cheat.

Milwaukee Public Schools have had about one cell phone-augmented fight
a month in the last three years, but it seems to have worsened during
the last year, said Peter Pochowski, the schools' director of safety
and security.

Two years ago, a fighting student used his cell phone twice in a
matter of weeks to summon two carloads of family members, Pochowski

Jamilynn Brushel, 18, a senior at Bradley Tech, said she would rather
see stricter security guards and teachers, because students who want
to fight will do so even without cell phones.

"They won't need people coming in," Brushel said. "They'll just get
people who are already here."

Dorcas Lopez is a mother of two, including a 12-year-old middle
schooler who needs to call her when he's done with basketball. But as
a social work assistant at a Milwaukee high school, she has seen kids
misuse phones to get someone to lie for them to get them out of

She said she does not feel any safer with the ban. "Whatever is going
to happen is going to happen," Lopez said.

The district will expel students who use cell phones to summon
outsiders for a fight, Superintendent William Andrekopoulos said.

Others could be suspended, have their phone temporarily confiscated,
or have a conference with the student or parents. There will be
exceptions to the ban for hardship cases, he said.

"I think people have to rise themselves up from a level of convenience
to a level of safety," Andrekopoulos said. "I think that's where we're
at in this country."

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press.

NOTE: For more telecom/internet/networking/computer news from the
daily media, check out our feature 'Telecom Digest Extra' each day at . Hundreds of new
articles daily. And, discuss this and other topics in our forum at (or)

For more news and headlines, please go to:

Post Followup Article Use your browser's quoting feature to quote article into reply
Go to Next message: Malcolm Foster, AP: "But Cell Phones are Vital in Developing World"
Go to Previous message: David Garrett, Newsfactor: "Yahoo Tells Road Rogues to Go"
Next in thread: "Re: Violence Prompts Wisconsin School Cell Phone Ban"
May be reply: "Re: Violence Prompts Wisconsin School Cell Phone Ban"
TELECOM Digest: Home Page