James Madison High School in Southwest Houston experienced a lockdown on Friday afternoon as students protested against the institution’s stringent new cellphone policy. The lockdown was initiated due to concerns over recent fights on campus, with Principal Edgar Contreras attributing the disruptions to student opposition against the impending cellphone restrictions.
In a message addressed to parents on Friday afternoon, Principal Contreras explained, “The school is currently on lockdown due to concern over recent fights that have occurred on campus.” He continued, linking the lockdown to the new cellphone policy, stating, “As you know, we communicated yesterday that, beginning on Monday, students will not be allowed to use their cell phones – at any time – while they are inside the school building. Cell phones have been at the center of fights that have broken out at our school.”
Under the new policy, students are mandated to surrender their cellphones at the front desk upon entering the school each day and retrieve them at the end of the day. This measure aims to address the role of cellphones in escalating conflicts on campus.
Contreras acknowledged that some students expressing discontent with the policy had caused disruptions, leading to the implementation of the lockdown. In response to the situation, HISD Police were deployed to the school to assist in maintaining order.
This incident follows a similar episode at HISD’s Lamar High School in April 2023, where a 15-year-old student was captured on video assaulting a teacher after demanding the return of his cellphone. The footage depicted the student aggressively confronting the teacher, repeatedly demanding his phone, and ultimately striking the educator in the face. The incident heightened concerns over the challenges associated with cellphone usage in schools and its potential impact on campus safety.