Katy ISD students may have different policies in regard to cellphone use and bus riding for the 2024-25 school year, as district officials presented revisions to the 2024-25 student code of conduct at the board of trustees’ June 17 work study meeting.

What’s happening?

While junior high students at KISD were allowed to access cellphones in the initial proposal made at the April 22 board meeting, the revised changes indicate they will no longer be allowed to use cellphones between class periods. However, the proposal states they’ll be able to access them during lunch based on decisions made by campus leadership teams.

The initial proposal made at the April 22 board meeting also included the following new policies for elementary schools:
  • All cellphones must be put away in student’s backpacks and turned off during class.
  • Any student violating the cellphone policy is subject to disciplinary action.
  • All classrooms will display 2024-25 classroom cellphone guidelines for reference.
High school students will only be allowed to access cellphones during noninstructional times in accordance with campus rules, according to district documents.

If students use cellphones at prohibited times, or if younger students use cellphones at all, they will be confiscated, according to district documents.

Students in pre-K through first grade are not allowed to use cellphones during instructional times, riding to or from school with district transportation, during tutorials or detention, or while participating in school-sponsored extracurricular activities, according to district documents.

Elementary students in second through fifth grade are allowed to have cellphones, but they must be turned off and not visible during the school day, according to district documents.

What they said

“I think that [the new policy] benefits our campus, and I think that it benefits our families,” board member Morgan Calhoun said. “Obviously, we can’t tell our families what to do with their children when they’re home, ... but what we do know is that cellphones are directly harmful and impacting our youth at an alarming rate.”

Over 53% of children have a smartphone by age 11, according to a 2022 study by the National Institutes of Health. Further, a 2023 study by research and child-advocacy organization Common Sense Media found teens pick up their phone two to 498 times a day.

Other board members also believe having a more strict cellphone policy will be beneficial for the district, especially since similar cellphone policies have already been implemented for KISD.

“There are many junior highs for sure that have successfully done this already for years,” board Secretary Mary Cuzela said. “It’s been done—some actually more stringently—and they’ve done it quite well, and the principals are very happy with it. This is not brand new for every school.”

What else?

Students who ride the bus could also have to scan their student IDs while loading and unloading the bus, according to district documents.

Other proposed bus-riding policies of note include students not being able to sit on the floor of the bus and students not being allowed to cross the roadway behind the bus, according to district documents.

Stay tuned

District officials are still making revisions to the student code of conduct for the 2024-25 school year. The date the board will consider adopting the code wasn’t specified.