High school students in the Hays Consolidated Independent School District may be charged $10 to get a cellphone or “telecommunications device” back if it is confiscated during class.
During a meeting Monday, school board members who favor the policy change emphasized stricter regulations to encourage student focus in classrooms.
“We polled the [Student Advisory Committee] and asked whether or not cellphones were a help or a hindrance during the learning process,” Hays CISD Superintendent Eric Wright said. “Believe it or not, the majority of students said it’s more of a distraction.”
Although personal cellphone use is already prohibited in classes in the district, Wright said high school teachers and principals needed a policy change with “consequences that had a bit more teeth.”
Board member Willie Tenorio Jr. said there were other ways to stop cellphone use in class. "I don’t think that we have to go ‘give me money’ in order to enforce a stricter cellphone policy,” he said.
The rule, which was approved 5-2, will begin when school starts next week. There will be a three-day grace period for the district to notify students and parents of the policy.
“We’re going to get a lot of heat for this,” said Meridith Keller, school board president. “We live in a very different world, but I’m excited about this new policy.”