FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE)- More than 74,000 Fresno Unified School District students returned to campuses Monday.
As the largest school district in the Central Valley, students returning from summer break noticed a number of changes regarding bell schedules, safety, and cell phones.
“So what you thought might be your school start time, might change so I would encourage you to look at that,” says Fresno Unified Superintendent Bob Nelson.
Senate Bill 328, or the “Late Start Initiative” takes effect. Not allowing middle schools to start before 8:00 a.m., and high schools to start before 8:30 a.m.
Fresno Unified says masks are allowed to be worn at the choice of each student and staff member. A move that Rodolfo Garcia, Principal of Edison-Bethune Charger School says will get students back on track.
“It took everybody off stride, and our mission this year is to get everyone on stride,” says Garcia.
Bullard High students may have to get used to not having access to their cellphones during class.
Bullard High student Kayla Addo-Boateng says this is a way for the school district to silence students, following an incident where a student captured another student wearing what appeared to be a makeshift Ku Klux Klan hood, and several other racist incidents on Bullard’s campus in recent years were documented with cell phones.
“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,” says Addy-Boateng.
The policy leaves many students and parents outraged, which may be implemented in the second half of the school year. A petition on change-dot-org has already received more than 2,800 signatures.
A school board meeting will be held on August 17, where the topic of the cellphone ban is expected to be discussed.