James Madison High School in Houston is put on LOCKDOWN after students revolted over cellphone ban in wake of brawls over devices

  • James Madison High School descended into chaos Friday after students rioted over a policy change that would see them unable to use their phones
  • School said the new policy is due to cell phones being at the center of fights on campus
  • Students who bring a phone into school will need to hand it in to the front office when they arrive and can pick it up again at dismissal

A Houston high school was locked down Friday after students walked out in protest of an impending cell phone ban.

James Madison High School staff ordered a shelter-in-place order after a physical altercation broke out on campus the previous day after news of the policy was shared.

The school said the new policy is due to cell phones being at the center of fights on campus.

Starting Monday, students who bring a phone to school will have to hand it in to the front office when they arrive and can pick it up again at dismissal.

In a message to parents seen by the Houston ChroniclePrincipal Edgar Contreras said: ‘Starting Monday, students will not be allowed to use their cell phones – at any time – while inside the school building.’

James Madison High School Senior Amba Adoghe called the cell phone ban 'oppressive'

James Madison High School Senior Amba Adoghe called the cell phone ban ‘oppressive’

Houston Independent School District confirmed that there will be extra security on campus starting Monday when the change is rolled out

Houston Independent School District confirmed that there will be extra security on campus starting Monday when the change is rolled out

Contreras continued: ‘Cellphones have been at the center of fights that have broken out at our school.’

The principal did not elaborate on how phones were at the center of the altercation.

Senior Amba Adoghe tells KEEP: ‘There was a lot of fighting that happened. It was mostly the same people.

‘They make a lot of rules that they don’t know how to apply. They are setting more restrictive, more oppressive rules with stricter consequences that everyone knows is really not going to play out well.’

Other students argued that the faculty was punishing the entire student body for the actions of a select few.

Stephanie Martinez told the Chronicle: ‘We have responsibilities. Our mothers may need to reach us. We need our phones.

“We’re cool about staying off our phones in class, but they shouldn’t just take it from us.”

According to a flier, violators will receive a warning, but a second offense will result in confiscation and a $15 administrative fee.

As well as students, parents also spoke out about the change in rules, with Veronica Vargas telling ABC13: ‘This is a public school.

“We need to know what the kids are doing and the location, what’s going on, are they scared of something?” We, as parents, are worried at this time.’

Principal Edgar Contreras announced the change in policy earlier this week, prompting an uproar from some students

Principal Edgar Contreras announced the change in policy earlier this week, prompting an uproar from some students

Other students argued that the faculty was punishing the entire student body for the actions of a select few

Other students argued that the faculty was punishing the entire student body for the actions of a select few

The school declared itself a ‘mobile phone-free zone’ at the start of the academic year, saying students would only be allowed to use devices if permitted by a teacher.

Houston Independent School District confirmed to the mall that there will be extra security on campus starting Monday when the policy is implemented.

Several states are moving to ban cellphones in schools, claiming the devices have contributed greatly to cyberbullying, poor mental health and a lack of learning.

Florida, Ohio, Colorado, Maryland, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Virginia and California have banned use during school hours or are working on such restrictions.

One Minnesota school has banned smartphones entirely from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., claiming the move resulted in more socialization, fewer distractions and overall happiness for children.