Benito Juarez high school will ban the use of cell phones for students

CHICAGO — A Chicago public high school in Pilsen is enforcing a cellphone ban for students.

From the end of April, students at Benito Juarez High School will no longer be able to use their mobile phones in schools. They will have the option of putting them in a cell phone locker.

“In an effort to address certain cultural and climate concerns, maximize student engagement, and eliminate unnecessary distractions, we will no longer allow the use of cell phones on our campus in the future. From Monday, April 25, students will no longer be able to use cell phones during the school day,” Principal Juan Carlos Ocon wrote to families on Wednesday.

Glenda, a Juarez parent with a senior at school, finds the new rule absurd and said the local school board was not consulted.

“There is violence in the school every day, there are fights every day, there are shootings targeting students in Juarez,” she said. “How are they going to ban cell phones?”

According to the memo, students in groups of three will be required to place their cell phones in a cell phone locker. If parents need to contact their child, they will need to call the attendance office.

In the memo, Principal Ocon said during the week of April 18 that the school will be communicating with families to ensure the new expectations are understood.

CPS sent the following statement.

“Chicago Public Schools (CPS) enables principals to develop building-specific policies that best meet the needs of their school’s climate and culture. This includes policies around when cell phones can be onsite, used, and how they should be stored during the school day.

As part of a school policy, Benito Juarez Community Academy management aims to eliminate distractions and maximize student engagement by prohibiting cell phone use on campus. Students can keep their cell phones, but they cannot use them on campus, starting Monday, April 25. They also have the option of storing their cell phones in a cell phone locker provided by the school.

The policy includes a parental appeal process and requires students to sign a copy of a cell phone contract acknowledging that they are aware of the new phone policy and storage protocol. Juarez students each have their own school device with access to the intranet. Granted, Benito Juarez High School’s cellphone protocol isn’t unique.

Block Club Chicago was the first to report the ban.


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