Sound controls

Local Parents Denounce Texas Schools Locking Out Student Phones, AISD Will Update Policy

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Several school districts across the state of Texas have mandated that students lock their phones during class hours. Some local parents say it’s a great practice, some express safety concerns, and others are more open to compromise.

On Facebook, KTAB/KRBC shared this article from our Nexstar sister station, KXAN:

On the KTAB side, there were comments on both sides of the equation:

On the KRBC side, one parent said they were willing to compromise:

Based on page 55 of Abilene ISD Parent/Student Handbook 2021-2022all students are allowed to use their phone, but must turn it off during class.

Here is a direct excerpt from the manual:

The district allows students to own personal cell phones for security reasons; however, these devices must remain turned off during the teaching day, including during all tests, unless used for approved teaching purposes.

Students are not permitted to own or use personal electronic devices at school unless approved in advance. Without this permission, teachers will collect the items and return them to the principal’s office. The principal will determine whether to return the items to the students at the end of the day or contact the parents to pick up the items.

For Wylie ISD students, a similar practice is in place. Based on page 72 of Wylie ISD Student Handbook 2021-2022, students are allowed to have cell phones, but they must be turned off during class. For students at Wylie Intermediate and Junior High, students cannot carry their phone. Instead, they should be placed in lockers for the whole day.

Here is a direct excerpt from the manual:

For security reasons, the district allows students to own personal cell phones; however, these devices must remain turned off during the teaching day, including during all tests. A student must have permission to own other telecommunications devices such as netbooks, laptops, tablets, or other portable computers.

Middle and junior high students will not be permitted to bring their cell phones or personal electronic devices to class. Each student will be required to place their phone/device in their locker prior to the 1st period each day. Cell phones/devices must remain in the locker all day including meal, elective, privilege and overtime periods. Since the district has implemented individual Chromebooks, students will have the technology needed in the classroom to succeed. This policy helps students be more engaged and have fewer discipline issues with social media.

At final meeting of the Abilene ISD School Board On July 11, Dr. Gustavo Villanueva, Associate Superintendent for Leadership and Student Services, spoke about updating the district’s mobile phone policy.

“The [cell phone] the use was out of control, and we had to get it under control,” said Dr. Villanueva.

With a new phone policy, set for the 2022-2023 Abilene ISD school year, elementary and middle school students should keep their phones turned off and put away.