ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Several school districts across the State of Texas have moved towards having students lock up their phones during school time. Some local parents say its a great practice, some are expressing concern over safety, and others are more open to a compromise.

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

On KTAB’s side, there were comments from each side of the equation:

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

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

Here is a direct excerpt from the handbook:

The district permits students to possess personal cell phones for safety purposes; however, these devices must remain turned off during the instructional day, including during all testing, unless they are being used for approved instructional purposes.

Students are not permitted to possess or use personal electronic devices at school unless prior permission has been obtained. Without such permission, teachers will collect the items and turn them in to the principal’s office. The principal will determine whether to return items to students at the end of the day or to contact parents to pick up the items.

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

Here is a direct excerpt from the handbook:

For safety purposes, the district permits students to possess personal mobile telephones; however, these devices must remain turned off during the instructional day, including during all testing. A student must have approval to possess other telecommunications devices such as netbooks, laptops, tablets, or other portable computers.

Intermediate and junior high students will not be permitted to carry their cell phone or personal electronic devices to class. Each student will be required to place their phone/device in their locker before 1st period each day. Cell phones/devices must remain in the locker for the entire day, including lunch, electives, privilege, and passing periods. Because the District has implemented one to one Chromebooks, students will have the technology needed in the classroom to be successful. This policy helps students to be more engaged and have fewer discipline issues with social media.

At the latest Abilene ISD School Board meeting on July 11, Dr. Gustavo Villanueva, Associate Superintendent for Leadership & Student Services, touched base on updating the district’s cell phone policy.

“The [cell phone] use was out of control, and we needed to rein that in,” said Dr. Villanueva.

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