FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Some students and parents are concerned over a new policy regarding cell phones at Bullard High School. 

“I think Bullard is trying to protect their image. And what happens in Bullard they’re trying to keep it in Bullard,” said Kayla Addo-Boateng with the Bullard High School Black Student Union.

The policy, being implemented by principal Armen Torigian would have students lock their phones in a pouch during the day, and can only unlock them once school is dismissed. 

“So much has happened in the past year where my phone has been my way out of uncomfortable situations, and everything that goes on at Bullard,” she said, explaining why she has hesitations over the policy. 

The school district’s Nikki Henry says Principal Torigian brought this program to Tenaya Middle School when he was the principal there. He believed it was quite successful in creating a more positive and engaging learning environment. 

“This is a principal initiative, so Principal Torigian has made this decision for his school specifically, this is not a districtwide initiative. Other schools who are interested are welcome to learn more,” Henry said. 

The concept is not completely new. A high school in San Mateo brought the pouches from tech company “Yondr” to their campus in 2019. board member Keisha Thomas said the policy could “contribute to an educational system with less districtations.”

Addo-Boateng says students’ phones have been able to document concerning incidents. She fears without phones classmates won’t be able to bring problems to light.

“A lot of their excuse for not doing anything is not having enough evidence. I feel like this is a way to kind of silence students.”

We reached out to the principal – who said he won’t be making a comment but will have information for parents on Aug. 18 during meetings then.