updated 03:44 pm EDT, Tue October 1, 2013
Move follows restriction of device use to school grounds following 'hack'
As fallout from the "hack" enabling unrestricted use of school iPads, two Los Angeles high schools are pulling back the devices from the student body. Students at Westchester and Roosevelt high schools, and possibly other schools in the district, are being forced to return the devices acquired in the billion-dollar deal to school administrators, with use prohibited until further notice. According to reports, about 70 percent of the 2,100 devices have been returned by the students.
"They carted them out of every classroom in sixth period," Westchester high school senior Brian Young claimed Monday. "There has been no word of when they'll be back." Teachers at the school believe that the devices won't be returned until December, but no official word has come down confirming that information.
Coordinator for academic services to low-income students at Roosevelt High, Lisa Alva, said that staff doesn't know "when or if we will able to use the iPads again for classroom instruction -- this week, this semester or this year." Roosevelt High was a test bed for the program last year, and the devices were not allowed off school grounds.
Los Angeles school district spokesman Thomas Waldman said that the district is "working with Apple to develop a solution" that would allow students to use the devices at home. "In the meantime, our team is working with each school to assist them with options for allowing students to use the devices at their school only."
More than 300 students spanning three high schools were able to circumvent the security measures installed on the iPads. The unlock allowed the students to access "unauthorized websites" on the school-issued devices. As a result, the students were forbidden from taking the devices home. The incomplete collection of the devices suggests that the ban was being ignored by a large percentage of the student body.
The Los Angeles school district information officer Ron Chandler said that an "overzealous Internet filter" initially prevented students from accessing websites necessary to complete a school assignment. "What this really forces us to do is ramp up the conversation about responsible use and accountability," Chandler said of the students bypassing county-installed countermeasures.
School superintendent John Deasy ordered the ban on the devices leaving school grounds despite the protestations of school officials and educators "until the district can be 100 percent certain the problem has been resolved and students are using the devices safely and appropriately," he said a week ago.