New cellphone policy enacted following 1:1 learning device implementation

Effective for the 2021-2022 school year, the use of phones, headphones, and iPads are prohibited in classrooms according to Cypress Fairbanks Independent School District’s new phone policy, due to the implementation of the 1:1 Learning Together Everywhere program.

The 1:1 Learning Together Everywhere program provides every CFISD student with a Chromebook to support learning on and off-campus. The district recognizes that this eliminates the need for cell phones in the classroom. In addition to cell phones, other items that school personnel deem to be a distraction are prohibited, including headphones and iPads.

“I agree completely with this new policy. I think, for me, it’s always about equal access. And now all students have equal access to the same instruction, and ability to produce work in the classroom. And so I think it just levels the playing field for everyone,” lead counselor Shayla Rodriguez-Bell said, “Whereas when phones were used as instructional tools, that was not necessarily the case. Some kids had better phones than others. Or even no phones.”

Cell phones are permitted before school (before 7:20 a.m.), after school (after 2:40 p.m.) and during lunch. In the classroom however, neither phones or headphones are allowed. If a student has their cell phone out and violates the policy, the teacher will confiscate the phone and turn it into the Assistance Principal’s office.

“Phones are a distraction in the class; I guess there’s really nothing to discuss about that,” Rodriguez-Bell said. “Many kids are able to handle the responsibility of a phone. But there are also many kids who do not and get distracted. They use the phone for non-school purposes. It does affect the learning environment in the classroom.”

Earbuds are allowed to be used in the hallways during class changes, however, headphones (ex. Beats) are prohibited. If a student violates the policy and gets an item confiscated, a parent or guardian will have to pay $15 to get the item.

“Although this policy may seem very aggressive, I’ve seen some great improvements in the classroom. Every student is able to concentrate without the usual distraction of their phone”, psychology teacher Laura Nguyen said. “Now that all students have a Chromebook, we are able to complete all of our assignments without phones or other possible distractions.”

The policy also states that the CFISD Police Department will not investigate or file theft reports for students/parents for the loss of cell phones or other communication devices at school.

“It seems a little unnecessary. I get why the district might’ve felt the need to implement this new policy, but I think it just creates more confusion,” senior Abel Rhyne said. “Some of my teachers follow this policy strictly, and others seem to not enforce it. I think the policy as a whole restricts phones a little too much, and doesn’t really help as much as it wants to.”