The Hays CISD board of trustees approved a new telecommunications policy for the district's two high schools at its meeting Tuesday night.
High school students who use personal telecommunications devices without approval may have them confiscated by school staff; to retrieve the device, a parent or student will have to pay a fine of $10.
“This is an addiction,” board President Meredith Keller said about the problem of cellphones in schools. “Let’s call it what it is.”
Some board members expressed reservations about the financial component of the policy.
"I think $10 is steep, initially," Trustee Michael Sanchez said, suggesting the fine be lower for first-time offenses.
Trustee Vanessa Petrea raised the prospect of alternative forms of payment and Trustee Will McManus agreed that “more attention needs to be paid to nonmonetary consequences.”
The board approved policy by a vote of 5-2, with Sanchez and Trustee Willie Tenorio opposed.
“I’m not comfortable with a fee,” Tenorio said. “If we couldn’t get to it in any other way, I would consider it, but I don’t think that we have to go, ‘give me money,’ in order to enforce a stricter cellphone policy.”
School starts Aug. 27, and the new policy will go into effect after a three-day grace period during which the school will communicate with both students and parents about the new policy.
“I’m excited to see that we’re going to put some teeth in this policy,” Petrea said. “This is a major issue and I’m glad that we’re doing something about it.”