HISD pays up after student's phone stolen at school

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- A Houston middle schooler left his phone on in class and it got taken away by a teacher. He never saw it again.

If this phone was off at school, it would never be in this situation.

But that's not the case, and as we investigated we found several curiosities.

It happened inside the Jane Long Academy not long ago. Inside a classroom, student Jonathan Rodriguez's cell phone rang. It's not supposed to be on during class.

He turned it off as fast as he could, but not fast enough to stop his teacher from taking it. Rules are rules.

"I didn't notice her coming behind me and she grabbed the phone. She just took it," Rodriguez said.

His teacher was supposed to turn it into the office.

"Whenever they take your phone away, they turn it into the office and you have to pay $15 by the next Monday."

Jonathan's iPhone 6 never made it to the office. It was reportedly stolen from the teacher's desk. He was initially told a police report was filed but nothing else could be done.

"As soon as she has a phone is her responsibility to take care of it and put it in a safe place."

The teacher, who wasn't allowed to talk to us, offered one of her old phones as a replacement.
Jonathan said no thanks.

That's when we got involved. Using open records law we asked for the police report and an accounting of how many phones had been seized at Jane Long. It turns there was never a police report. A phone was stolen from a teacher's desk and it's not clear school police were ever called but that's not all we found out.

The school also gave us a list of every phone seized at Jane Long Academy this school year - enough to collect $1300 in fines if everyone paid. HISD says not everyone does, but days after this list was turned over the district surprisingly turned over a check to Jonathan's mom for a new phone.

He says he's learned his lesson.

"We are very happy because I think they do the right thing," his mom, Leonor, said.

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