A high school in Houston went into lockdown on Friday after hoards of students stormed out of their classrooms in protest of the school’s cell phone ban. James Madison High School staff called for a shelter-in-place as a precaution after physical violence broke out the day before the new policy was instituted, according to the New York Post.
Principal Edgar Contreras told parents that the “school is currently on lockdown due to concern over recent fights that have occurred on campus.”
“As you know, we communicated yesterday that, beginning on Monday, students will not be allowed to use their cell phones – at any time – while they are inside the school building. Cell phones have been at the center of fights that have broken out at our school,” he continued.
Students at the high school have been upset since the announcement about the new rule, which would require all students to turn in their phones to the front desk before they begin class each day. The students would be allowed to get their phones at the end of the day or if there is an emergency, according to the Houston Chronicle.
“Some students who are angry about this policy have caused disruptions on campus today, prompting the lockdown that is in place,” Contreras said. “We have additional support from the HISD South Division as well as additional officers from HISD Police at our school as we work to keep everyone safe.”
In response, the students stormed out of their classrooms. Some students complained that the new rule was a violation of their Fourth Amendment in the form of “unreasonable search and seizure.” Others claimed that it was not fair that the school punished the whole student body for the behavior of just a few.
Stephanie Martinez, a student at the Houston school, said “[w]e [the students] have responsibilities. Our moms might need to reach us. We need our phones.”
“We’re cool staying off our phones in class, but they shouldn’t just take them from us.”
James Madison High School introduced a strict policy to crack down on distractions that have made it difficult for teachers to do their jobs.
Houston Independent School District police monitored the situation in case it escalated. However, there has been no update on the policy or whether it will still be implemented.
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