5.4.1 Mobile Communication Devices

Mobile Communication Devices

(SFUSD Board Policy 5131.8)  

Students may possess cell phones, smart watches, pagers, or other mobile communication devices on campus as long as the device is utilized in accordance with law, this Board Policy and any rules that individual school sites may impose.

All mobile communication devices shall be turned off and put away during instructional time, including during passing period. 

However, a student shall not be prohibited from possessing or using a mobile communication device under any of the following circumstances:  (CA Education Code 48901.5, 48901.7)

  1. In the case of an emergency, or in response to a perceived threat of danger.  Such use shall not inhibit the ability of school District employees to effectively communicate instructions for the safety of students, or be disruptive or endanger the safety of others.
  2. When a teacher or administrator grants permission to the student to possess or use a mobile communication device to enhance classroom instruction.  In this circumstance, the device may only be used within the parameters provided by the teacher, for the purpose and time period identified by the teacher.
  3. When a licensed physician or surgeon determines that the possession or use is necessary for the student's health and the use is limited to purposes related to the health of the student.
  4. When the possession or use is required by the student's individualized education program. 

 Students may not use mobile communication devices at school or school sponsored activities to take pictures, film or video of students or school staff (including teachers, administrators or staff) without the prior written consent of the student or staff person.

 Smartphones and other mobile communication devices shall not be used in any manner which infringes on the privacy rights of any other person.  Any use that disrupts the educational process or school programs or activities is prohibited.  Any use that violates the SFUSD rules, policies or regulations (including the SFUSD Acceptable Use Agreement), federal or state law is prohibited, including but not limited to cyberbullying, sexual harassment, threats, or cheating on tests or assignments.  

Violation of Use Guidelines

When a student uses a mobile communication device in an unauthorized manner, the student may be disciplined and a District employee may confiscate the device; or may require the parent to come to school to recover the device.  It will be left to the discretion of the staff member to determine the appropriate response depending on the particular circumstances.  A student’s right to carry such devices may be revoked for a serious or repeated violation of these guidelines except where deemed medically necessary.  The employee shall store the device securely until it is returned to the student or parent/guardian or turned over to the principal or designee, as appropriate. 

A student may also be subject to discipline, in accordance with law, Board policy, or administrative regulation, for off-campus use of a mobile communication device which poses a threat or danger to the safety of students, staff, or District property or substantially disrupts school activities.

The District will not be responsible for a student's mobile communication device which is brought on campus or to a school activity and is lost, stolen, or damaged.


This page was last updated on November 3, 2020