MOREHOUSE PARISH, La. (KTVE/KARD) – Students at Bastrop High School made their voices heard with a protest in response to new school policies.
Students are protesting the no cell phone policy and not being allowed to wear hoodies on campus. The protest started around 10:00 a.m. after a group of students pulled a fire alarm.
The students then walked down the hallways holding signs to express their feelings.
“We can’t bring no cell phones on campus. I can see if I can bring it but just not have it out, but if you get a phone on campus you get expelled, like for the whole year, not just for like three or five days,” said senior student, Joseph Fells.
The new policy, implemented by the Morehouse Parish School Board, was put in place at the start of the school year, and it took effect on September 6th.
The policy says cell phones will only be allowed on campus if there is a medical reason. Any violation will result in the confiscation of the device.
“We are all angry, really mad, you know. We all had to come together,” said another senior student, Gerniesha Ridgell.
The policy prohibits students from bringing any type of electronic devices to school, such as cellphones, earbuds, smart watches, radios, video games and more.
Morehouse Parish School Board Superintendent, David Gray, who did not want to be on camera, told KTVE, the policy was put in place to increase safety.
“If you are in education, you have to look at it from a standpoint of safety first because parents are trusting us with their kids and it is our job to do the best we can to make sure these kids are taken care of, and we return them home in the afternoon in the same condition they came to us,” said Gray.
But some opponents say students need their cell phones in case of an emergency.
“Anything could happen. You never know, we need our phones,” added Ridgell.
Students are also protesting the anti-hoodie policy. The superintendent says this policy is in place, so students can’t hide potential weapons.
“But again, it was never put in to be punitive to kids. It was put in for kids’ safety. With school shootings and everything else that we have to deal with now, it’s a hard situation to be in,” explained Gray.
Superintendent Gray says safety is their number one priority. However, he appreciates the students raising their concerns, and after the protest he spoke with them.
“Let’s use this as a teachable moment and try to teach kids, and say let’s get your voice heard. This is the process you need to go through.”
Superintendent Gray says he will not rule out the possibility of reviewing these policies with the school board and will discuss it in their next board meeting in October.
No students were suspended because of the protest.