Ann Richards Admin unveils new Bring Your Own Device policy

Meredith Oldham and

The Ann Richards School unveiled a new “Bring Your Own Device” policy on Wednesday of last week, and has been introducing each grade level to the new system day by day.

The junior class reads the new policy in the library during their advisory time. Photo by Meredith Oldham

“We’ve wanted to do this for a long time,” said Assistant Principal Waugh*, who has been introducing the policy to each grade level. “It was just really working it out with everybody, what’s consistent, what’s fair. What happens when somebody doesn’t have a device? Does that put them at a disadvantage? As a faculty we really had to weigh all of those questions, and then in the end we we’ve got to kind of jump out with something and see if it works.”

The new “BYOD” policy is the first of its kind in the district and includes set regulations students must adhere to if they wish to continue using devices in class. A copy of the guidelines is listed below.

  • Students participating in BYOD must adhere to the Student Code of Conduct, Acceptable Use Policy, and all Board Policies, particularly Internet Acceptable Use.
  • Each teacher has the discretion to allow and regulate the use of personal devices in the classroom and on specific projects.
  • Unless given teacher position, the device may not be used for phone calls.
  • All devices must be in silent mode while on campus. Devices that ring, vibrate, or are used for unapproved purposes will be taken up and are subject to a 48 hour hold and a $15.00 recovery fee. Parents/Guardians are the only persons able to pick up the devices.
  • Devices may not be used or visible during Morning Assembly, Yoga, and/or Friday Fitness.
  • Students may not use devices to record, transmit, or post photographic images or video of a person or persons on campus during school hours or during school activities, unless otherwise allowed by a teacher.

“I absolutely believe this will work out,” said Waugh. “I think that some teachers were already opening it up in the classroom. And I think that [students] already live by using their phones, and that we need to teach you that skill. When you get to college you need to learn how to manage that, you know so that I’m not on Twitter, Instagram, or whatever instead of doing my homework. Students have to be able to time manage, and manage their devices as a resource.”

Juniors Alex Migl (left) and Gabrielle Redden (right) listen as Waugh explains the policy. Photo by Meredith Oldham
Juniors Alex Migl (left) and Gabrielle Redden (right) listen as Waugh explains the policy. Photo by Meredith Oldham

Junior, Maya Nunez, whose phone broke in the middle of August, had concerns of her own.

“I hope that my broken phone doesn’t put me behind in class. I want to be able to work with everyone else even though my phone doesn’t work right now.”

Currently, the school administration is looking for old device donations so that students like Nunez won’t be penalized in class for not having a “smart device” of their own. The administration additionally explained to students the reasoning behind the policy, which was also outlined in the policy itself.

“We’re doing this to actually give you an opportunity to research and to do your homework  and to access haiku and your grades, and things like that,” Waugh said. As well, the policy itself states, “An important component of BYOD will be providing education about appropriate online behaviors. We will frequently review cyber-safety rules with students throughout the school year and will offer reminders and reinforcement about safe online behaviors.”

So how have the students responded to the new policy so far?

“You know it’s really weird,” said Waugh. “I thought they’d be more excited than they are, but I don’t get a lot of excitement– I get a lot of finally. But maybe we’ll see more of that excitement with the middle schoolers.”


*Interview facilitated by Myra Noralez