7 Hours of Freedom for SBISD Middle Schools

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**The goal of this petition is NOT to keep cell phones at home.  Rather, the goal is to have Spring Branch ISD update and revise the district’s current policy regarding student cell phone usage at school.  The current policy, written in 2011, is outdated and encompasses grades 6-12. We would like the policy to be separated into two parts - one for middle school and one for high school. Doing this will allow the district to put more appropriate cell phone restrictions in place for middle school students, while leaving the current policy in place for high school.***

Often, when students enter Middle School, they are given their first cell phone, many times for safety and communication reasons. We understand that. However, we also believe these students deserve “7 Hours of Freedom" during the school day.  

Freedom to be: Away from online social pressure, which can lead to anxiety, depression and even thoughts of suicide.  

Freedom to be: Focused on their classwork.

Freedom to be: Having face-to-face conversations with their peers at lunch, and during transition times.

Freedom to be: Building new, and long-lasting friendships that do not happen through texts or posts on social media during the school day.

Freedom to be: Conversing with, and getting to know their teachers when there is extra time at the end of a class, and not baby-sat by a cell-phone.

Freedom to be: Not feeling rushed through their school work, and lunch so they can get to their phone.

Freedom to be: Part of a vibrant school community, and not feeling less than if they don’t have a phone, or have the latest and greatest phone.

Studies show teens and children who spend a great deal of time online are twice as likely to be unhappy. Studies also show for every phone distraction in class via a text ping, a phone ring, a vibration sound, or a viewing of a screen, students lose 9 minutes of learning.

This year, SBISD is rolling out one-to-one Chromebooks to all middle school students to be used in school and at home. This is the only technology they need during the school day. 

Many Houston-area districts and private schools have already updated their policies to recognize the growing need to prohibit cell phone use during school hours.  One school policy reflected that phones during school hours led to "an increase in student conflict, that began or escalated via social media or text messaging. As a result, this has caused an increase in emotional scarring that produces long term negative effects on our students."  

It is time for SBISD to be more progressive, and begin to get ahead of the curve when it comes to our kids and cell phone use. 2011 is ancient in the tech world. We know more now. We know better. By signing this petition, you are showing SBISD that you support a discussion, and revision in this very important policy. Let's give our children, our future, the "7 hours of freedom" that they deserve during their time at school.