BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The Biloxi School District has lifted its ban on cell phones on two campuses.The rules changed this year, but, there are restrictions and penalties for violators.
Across the courtyard and around the cafeteria, you will find plenty of Biloxi High students fixated on their cell phones. When asked what she does with her phone, Skye Nelson replied, "Social media, texting."
"I usually get on Snapchat or I just text my friends, like my boyfriend, or I get on Instagram to check on news feeds," said Rebecca Hesler.
For the past 15-years, being caught with the mobile devices can get you in trouble. Before, if students were seen with a cell phone at school, the phone was confiscated for three weeks, then returned to their parents. If it happened again, they would lose their phone for the rest of the school year. But this year, the school board decided to revise the cell phone policy for Biloxi High and Biloxi Junior High.
"I will admit, I was the first person who was like, 'No, please don't change it.' But I will also be the first to admit that I have been very pleasantly surprised. We've seen very few problems with allowing cell phones," said Biloxi High Principal Marcus Boudreaux.
Students can use their cell phones anywhere outside the classrooms.
"I got really excited about it, because I always like being on my phone, because it's like my life," said Rebecca.
The only time students can whip out their cell phones in class is when their teachers give permission them to use the devices for academic purposes.
"I use it for different apps and to look up various information and help me with my school work," said Travin Payne.
"We have the technology in the students' hands. A lot of teachers were very excited whenever we made the policy change," said Boudreaux.
Along with the academic benefits, the principal has also noticed a change in his students' behavior.
"During lunch time and the hallways, I think we've had less disruptions because the kids are somewhat occupied on their phones," said Boudreaux.
Students who disrupt class with their phones, like going on inappropriate sites, could face disciplinary action.
"It's a great privilege to have, so I guess we're really going by the rules," said Travin.
Several students say cell phones can also be used during emergencies, and school administrators use them to send daily text messages to students and anyone else who signs up for the service.