CHICAGO — A Chicago public high school in Pilsen is placing a cell phone ban into effect for students.

Beginning at the end of April, students at Benito Juarez High School will not be able to use their cell phones in schools. They will have the option to put them in a cell phone locker.

“In an effort to address some culture and climate concerns, maximize student engagement, and remove unnecessary distractions, we will not allow the use of cell phones on our campus going forward. Starting Monday, April 25, students will not be able to use cell phones during the school day,” Principal Juan Carlos Ocon wrote to families on Wednesday.

Glenda, a Juarez parent with a senior at the school, finds the new rule absurd and said the Local School Council was not consulted.

“There’s violence happening in the school everyday, there’s fights everyday, there’s shootings targeting Juarez students,” she said. “How are they going to ban cell phones?”

According to the note, students in groups of three will be required to place their cell phones in a cell phone locker. If parents need to contact their child, they will have to call the attendance office.

In the note, Principal Ocon said during the week of April 18th, the school will communicate with families to make sure the new expectations are understood.

CPS sent the following statement.

“Chicago Public Schools (CPS) allows principals to make building-specific policies that best meet the needs of their school’s climate and culture. This includes policies related to when cell phones can be on site, used, and how they should be stored during the school day.

Under a school-based policy, Benito Juarez Community Academy leadership aims to remove distractions and maximize student engagement by banning cell phone usage on campus. Students can keep possession of their cell phone but they can not use it on campus, effective Monday, April 25. They also have the option of storing their cell phones in a school-provided cell phone locker.

The policy includes a parental appeal process and requires students to sign a copy of a cell phone contract acknowledging that they are aware of the new phone policy and storage protocol. Students at Juarez each have their own school-issued device with access to the intranet. Certainly the Benito Juarez High School cell phone protocol is not unique.”

Block Club Chicago was first to report on the ban.