HAYS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — The Hays Consolidated Independent School District welcomed back students for the first day of school. Something on the lesson plan? A phone and earbud policy.

Starting this school year, students at every Hays CISD campus won’t be allowed to use their phone or earbuds while at school.

McCormick Middle School teacher Sarah Smith laid out the ground rules to her new sixth grade class.

“I know we like to walk around with an earbud in just to listen to music, but we’re actually not going to allow that,” Smith said.

Principal of McCormick Middle James Cruz said it was an initiative the school started back in 2017.

“I noticed it was a big problem. Cell phones were a big distraction in the classroom for teachers and students, said Cruz.

But only this year has it expanded to all campuses. The policy also applies to teachers. Something Smith said she had to adjust to.

“It’s hard. It helps me understand where they’re coming from for sure,” Smith said.

However, she said it’s worth it to create a better learning environment with fewer distractions. Some of the students had questions about the policy.

“Do you ask a teacher to take out your phone to see your schedule?” one student asked.

Smith replied phones could not be used to look at schedules, but school staff members are available to help with schedule questions.

Cruz said once students understand the reasoning behind the policy, they tend to respect it.

When it comes to violations of the policy, the first time a student’s phone is taken up, it’s turned into the front office and should be picked up at the end of school.

The second time, a parent must pick it up. The third time, there will be a $10 charge.

The district said cell phones can be used in a case of an emergency.