Wichita Falls I.S.D. high schoolers could soon be able to use their cell phones at school during non-instructional times. It's a big change from the cell phone policy currently in place.
The current W.F.I.S.D. Student Handbook states, "cell phones must be turned off during the instructional day" and "if a student uses a telecommunications device without authorization during the instructional day, the device will be confiscated. A parent may pick up the confiscated telecommunications device from the principal's office for a fee of $15."
The Associate Principal of Wichita Falls High School, Greg Darden, proposed a cell phone policy to the W.F.I.S.D. school board on Monday that will allow students to talk and text during non-instructional times (when transitioning from one class to another and in common areas).
"We're falling in line with a lot of other districts of our size and that are a little bit bigger than us. We thought it would be an effective move for us as far as student morale," said Darden.
Darden said this projected policy will give W.F.I.S.D. high schoolers freedom and also let them have more responsibility.
"We want to be able to show the students in the building that we're allowing them to take care of their business and to do the things that they need to do without having to ask to do it. I think that it's another training tool that we can give as a campus and a district as to when times are appropriate or inappropriate for that type of use of those devices," said Darden.
Darden knows that students will be typing at the bit with the change and parents will as well.
"Before this policy, many times parents who need to get a hold of their students will text or call them anyway, which puts their child's phone at jeopardy of being confiscated. It will be a relief to them to be able to know that they can contact their student whenever they need to," said Darden.
Darden believes this possible change has the W.F.I.S.D. school board showing interest.
"I think that they're enthusiastic with the fact that we're thinking progressively and I think that it is something that once we put a good policy in place that I think they will agree with. I think it will go through," said Darden.
Darden also said, there will be consequences if students use their phones inappropriately during non-instructional times.
If this cell phone policy is approved by the school board, it would only be for the three W.F.I.S.D. high schools, not the junior high or elementary schools.
The school board will vote in August on whether they agree with this policy change. If they do, it will be included in the 2015-2016 Student Code of Conduct.