Mega Phone Loss: Middle schoolers find stolen phones in girl’s bathroom


Middle schoolers use their phones before morning assembly. Photo by Mayrin Silva

Lucia Hruby

Two middle schoolers reported to the administration that their cell phones were stolen on Wednesday, September 23. The phones were found in the girl’s bathroom trash can later that day.

Karen Sanchez-Gonzalez and Ashley Trejo Benitez, both seventh graders, realized that their phones were missing during their seventh period STARS class.

I was worried that I had lost my iPhone.  I thought that my parents were going to get mad at me for losing it and I’d be forced to use a flip phone,” Trejo said.  I was really worried and I couldn’t help but cry.”

Sharon Roy, STARS teacher, was informed by Sanchez and Trejo that both of their phones were missing.  Roy made an announcement to the class to keep a lookout for the missing phones.  The admin staff, Kristina Waugh and Mandy Mathews, were contacted and they began a search for the two iPhones.  Using the application “Find My iPhone,” both cell phones were found in a trashcan in the girl’s bathroom.

“My phone was in my backpack the whole day, but I think it was stolen when I wasn’t looking.  I checked all of my classes that day, but it didn’t show up,” Sanchez said.

The majority of Ann Richards girls have some type of cell phone that they carry around with them throughout the school day. Just two years ago, phones were prohibited in school.  Anyone seen with their phones would have it confiscated for 48 hours and would have to pay a fifteen dollar fine before having their phone returned to them.

Last year, the administration introduced a “Bring Your Own Device” policy allowing students to use their electronic devices during class for educational purposes.  Since then, phones have become useful tools for class and students rely on them heavily.

“I’d say about once a month we have a missing phone and sometimes it’s really lost and sometimes it’s actually stolen,” Waugh said .  “It’s generally the younger girls who lose their phones and it’s generally at the beginning to the BYOD policy because they’re not used to carrying their phones with them.”

In light of recent events, Waugh gives tips on how to keep phones secure.  “You should know your serial number; if you have an iPhone make sure to have the app ‘Find My iPhone’ and make sure it’s active; make sure you have something that’s identifiable as yours, whether it be a special case or a sticker; and try to keep it in the same place at all times so that you don’t lose it,” Waugh said.

Although the culprits were not caught, Trejo and Sanchez said they were relieved to have their phones returned to them and were happy that they didn’t end up in the City of Austin Landfill.