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Is it truly legal for a school to charge $15 to return a confiscated cell phone?

who's talking here?

ladybeachbum 1
Rubicon 2
HsMommy 2
reh6110 1
FANCY PANTS 1
B12Fan 1
Jeff 1
Work in Progress 1
Davi 1
Dorothy Parker 4
TinktheSprite 2
Its Mygirl01 6
queenofclean 2
Just stuck 1
Emperor of Kingwood 1
DVaz 1
Judas 2
a889324uu 1
Leila 1
mutton 6
ugly yapper dog 1
JuanSequin 9

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JuanSequin --- 6 years ago -

Friend of mine shared the story with me over the weekend. The child had the phone confiscated and now has to pay $15 to get it back.

I completely understand taking phones up in class and $15 bucks is nothing. The problem is that it is ok in some classes and not in others.

However, the paying of money to return property seems to be illegal on some front. That is a lot of money across all of the schools in the district. I wonder where that money goes and what an audit would find....Thoughts? 

a889324uu --- 6 years ago -

Schools nickle and dime us to death. My children recently transferred within the same district and we were forced to pay for new locker locks; they couldn't bring the ones we bought at the school or new ones from home.

Confiscated phones are a gray way to generate funds. 

Judas --- 6 years ago -

The child had the phone confiscated and now has to pay $15 to get it back.


Tough. They shouldn't be allowed to bring them to school in the first place. 

JuanSequin --- 6 years ago -

Ugh, that's kind of the point there....they are allowed to bring phones to school, and the rules vary by class and campus. That was a waste of time. 

TinktheSprite --- 6 years ago -

It's school district policy that parents sign at the beginning of every year. It's been $15 for decades and at least never raised. They used to turn the phones into the police department. I'd make my kid pay the fine. 

Judas --- 6 years ago -

Ugh, that's kind of the point there....they are allowed to bring phones to school, and the rules vary by class and campus. That was a waste of time.


I agree that the rules should be uniform. 

Work in Progress --- 6 years ago -

They aren't supposed to be allowed in any class. Some teachers don't enforce it. But that is the case for all rules. 

JuanSequin --- 6 years ago -

The fine will be paid and the $15 is nothing. I don't care if it's 1$ or $50 or how long it's been on the books- It is bad policy to confiscate and then fine/tax the parent to return the property. Put them in detention or whatever --there should be firm consequences for not following rules. But when you make it about money it is problem. As stated above this is another way to raise money and stock a slush fund. 

TinktheSprite --- 6 years ago -

My guess is that teacher give a warning or 3 before confiscating the phone. From a teacher's stand point, it must be difficult to police for phones all day long while trying to give a lecture. 

ugly yapper dog --- 6 years ago -

The thing with charging money is obviously people hate it. Thats why it has the potential to be so effective in getting people off their phones in class. If people have a problem with it take it up with your kid, or you have a right to not send them to school with one to begin with. And as for the cell phone for safety argument, I survived school without a cell, I think every other kid will too. And times were more dangerous the further back in history we go. Now days theres practically nothing left to protect our kids from, except maybe their own stupidity. 

Its Mygirl01 --- 6 years ago -

channel 2 news story

It's legal since 1995 and a BIG $$ maker for some schools! 

Leila --- 6 years ago -

Yes it is legal. It is addressed by Texas Education Code Section 37.082(b)(2)

You can probably find more information in the student handbook / code of conduct for the particular campus in question. You can also access the board policy here: Humble ISD Board Policy Manual

My understanding that there are times and situations in which cell phone usage is allowed and a teacher may make a decision regarding responsible usage in their classroom. 

HsMommy --- 6 years ago -

The student should be made to pay the fine. make them do some sort of "community service" around the school. Kids need to stop having things handed to them and face consequences. That's what's wrong with this generation. Things are to easy for then. 

HsMommy --- 6 years ago -

The student should be made to pay the fine. make them do some sort of "community service" around the school. Kids need to stop having things handed to them and face consequences. That's what's wrong with this generation. Things are to easy for then. 

JuanSequin --- 6 years ago -

Tink: that would be a good guess and reasonable. It was my first question. If it happened that way I would not have started this thread. And I completely agree it's difficult to manage mobile devices in class.

yapper: Also completely agree that cells are not needed at school and you deal with the kid. If I caught my own children texting during class hours they would be in big trouble. That is not what happened in this case. The phone was not out and was not being used - an alert just went off. It doesn't matter what we had/didn't have in school years ago - mobile devices are everywhere in schools. Schools raise money all the time to buy more mobile devices for various classes. I don't know about your last statement (see school shooting stories).

It is amazing to me how many people just respond with: "here, take my money and have no curiousity as to where it goes."

I understand that it is legal but it is a really slippery slope and does nothing to improve parent/school relations.

Thanks Mygirl --I've got a few kids in school but had never had this happen. This was the first I had heard of it. 

JuanSequin --- 6 years ago -

Guys - I know the Texas education code and have caught up on that section in the handbook. It's a policy, so what. That doesn't mean it should be.

This is also not one of those "kids have everything handed to them situation". I agree with that Hs.

The only mistake the student made was not turning the volume down. The phone was put away and not being used. 

Its Mygirl01 --- 6 years ago -

You're welcome!! 

queenofclean --- 6 years ago -

At the beginning of this school year middle schools and high schools had a whole hand out in the welcome packet saying kids could have phones at school and have them out during non class times. My high schooler even has teachers that let them use them to look stuff up, yet my middle schooler had it out at lunch to check to see if I texted him about some information and it was taken up and I had to pay 15.00. I brought the flyer that was in their beginning of the year packet and then they say they have different rules on their campus YET I was showing them the NEW humble ISD policy.

As far as kids needing phones at school, sure it is not necessary but many of those kids have to stay after achool or walk or ride their bike home alone and the parents like that they have a phone for safety reasons. One girl has to walk a long ways home and didn't have her phone and her parents could not get to the school in time to pay the 15.00 so she walked home without it. For MANY kids it is a safety issue. It's not a game boy or I pad.

I was not happy. Didn't make my son pay the 15.00 because I told him to check his messages at lunch to see when I was picking him up. I was going by the high school / middle school humble ISD new rules flyer. I never got anything from his school saying they were going to follow a different rule. 

mutton --- 6 years ago -

Have been doing it for years, nothing new. They should have it off and only on at the approved times. I do not always agree with the rules but know we are supposed to follow...(and yes, some of our angels use them when not appropriate). 

Just stuck --- 6 years ago -

I see it as as being aimed at the parent to TEACH their children to abide by the rules. One time OK, with a stern warning & some discipline. Anymore I would be kicking butt! 

Dorothy Parker --- 6 years ago -

What do you guys think of the ID badges the kids are now required to wear?

If they lose them, they charge $5 to replace it. They will give them a temporary ID that lasts for one day until they pay to replace the badge. If they get too many temporary ID badges (which is a sticker, btw) they are given a D Hall along with being charged for the ID badge.

Is there a problem with kids not belonging to the school, being there during the day? I really don't see the point in this. My oldest went all through the Humble ISD system and never once had to wear a badge. Seems like another unnecessary revenue producer. 

Its Mygirl01 --- 6 years ago -

I like the ID badges, I volunteer at my daughters school front desk and there are several kids who are homeschooled that come for elective classes and I know they're suppo to be there because of the badges. I don't see any problem with them charging them if they loose it, they give them one for free at the beginning of the year. 

mutton --- 6 years ago -

If I lose my ID badge from work is $50.00...Times change. For school I see as a plus to use one. 

Dorothy Parker --- 6 years ago -

For school I see as a plus to use one.?


For what purpose? I don't see the reasoning. A handful of homeschooled kids coming to extracurriculars isn't reason enough, imo. 

mutton --- 6 years ago -

Maybe not for the kids, but what about the volunteers? When I did me stints was at all times of day. Back then I just walked right in and went wherever... 

Dorothy Parker --- 6 years ago -

The volunteers have to wear a computer generated sticker that has their info on it. I totally agree with and understand that policy.

Students enrolled in that school needing to wear a badge around their neck all day long? Why is that necessary? Just one more thing for them to worry about. 

mutton --- 6 years ago -

Yes it is, times have changed...not for the better. what does it hurt? 

Dorothy Parker --- 6 years ago -

I just find it annoying that we have to now worry about an ID on top of everything else. Just like having to re-register every year like they're new students. I find a lot of policies annoying and redundant.

Call me crazy! I like things being simpler and making sense. :) 

Davi --- 6 years ago -

If a kid is caught with a cell phone at school it should be confiscated and NOT returned at all.
There is no justifiable reason for a kid to have a phone at school.
None of mine had phones until they graduated and could pay for them themselves.. 

mutton --- 6 years ago -

I agree DP, wish could be as once was! (is ok if we not agree, still respect ya!) I hate changes! lol 

mutton --- 6 years ago -

Davi, I had none cos did not yet exist! 

Rubicon --- 6 years ago -

I am fine with the cell phone fee. Bringing a phone to school and using it is optional.

BUT I hate that the kids have to pay for a replacement or forgotten i.d. cards. It would be great if the kids could have an extra i.d. card to leave in their locker incase they forgot the old one. But from what the kids tell me, they can only have one at a time. Maybe it would have been better if they gave the kids a year to adjust to the new i.d. without them having to pay money. We've spent a ton of money on forgotten ids this year. 

Emperor of Kingwood --- 6 years ago -

Dont you have to pay for a lost drivers license? passport? birth certificate? 

reh6110 --- 6 years ago -

You also pay to get your car out of impound when it has been towed due to you breaking rules/laws. I don't really see a difference.

The point of the ID cards is to know who is supposed to be on campus be it student or adult. KHS is behind the curve on this. Many surrounding school districts implemented this years ago as well as other high schools within Humble. They serve the same purpose as teachers having to wear an ID. If something happened on campus involving a child/teen who did not belong on campus many of you would be asking why they don't have better security and why the person was on campus without anyone's knowledge. 

Jeff --- 6 years ago -

I've had teachers email me and ask if I could get hold of my son to pick up a make up test . It's all about kids knowing when and where they are allowed to use them. Most teachers at khs are pretty lenient but the kids should know what's off limits. 

JuanSequin --- 6 years ago -

Jeff - agree on both KHS and KP. No problem there. This is middle school.

ID Cards: No real problem there either. Replacement costs.

reh: Disagree. The schools allow mobile devices, the rules between classes and teachers change, and then extort a $15 dollar to return property that does not belong to them. Cars can be wrongly impounded as well.

Davi- yes and I when I went to school I walked uphill both ways through the snow.....Nearly everyone has a mobile devices and schools encourage them.

Again, it would be very interesting to see what an independent audit found as to where this money goes.

Anyways my friend solved her problem through writing her own confiscation policy. 

Rubicon --- 6 years ago -

I understand replacement costs of i.d.s. My issue is that they have to pay a dollar for a sticker if they forget their i.d. That seems excessive. I think they should have been given a year or even half the year to get used to having i.d.s without being penalized monetarily for forgotten items especially if the item doesn't need to be replaced. These are kids we are talking about, not working adults. 

queenofclean --- 6 years ago -

I have three kids with IDs, two of the three cracked where they were hole punched for the lanyards. My one kid used duct tape to tape it back. Was told he couldn't do that. Paid 5.00 for another one. They are not nearly as sturdy as my husbands work ID. They are thin and break easy especially cracking where they are hole punched.

I have paid at least an extra 20.00 to the school between my three kids and those IDs.....lol 

JuanSequin --- 6 years ago -

Mygirl -- This report backs up my concern. Deposits for cell phone fines are not itemized or clearly reported here. They also appear to be very low; as in the cash paid to recover personal property did not make it to the account.

There are 7 middle schools listed in this report. Let's say that 10 mobile devices are confiscated per day at each campus. That is probably on the low side with 600+ students at each campus.

That's 70 devices confiscated per day. At an average of 20 schools days a month * 9 months that equates to ~$189,000 per school year. And that's probably low.

Where did the rest of it go??

Slush fund. 

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