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Los Angeles schools claw back iPads from students, program endangered

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.

By Electronista Staff
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  1. Marook

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 05-05-99

    Oh my.. talk about First World Problems.. !

  1. apostle

    Junior Member

    Joined: 04-16-08

    Are the missing (un-returned) 30% of the tablets now considered stolen? Were the tablets "just handed out" or was each tablet assigned by serial number to a specific student. Can't the schools remotely shut down the missing tablets? I'm just curious as to what safeguards were put in place to protect their investments.

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    This is why they can't have nice things.

  1. bonaccij

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 06-19-03

    I just find it incredibly hard to believe that the public school system is going to suspend this program because the IT staff involved is so incompetent. This really is a very, VERY simple matter to assure that the students can't do this. This is really Mac Administration 101. We do it every day. They can do it. I can't believe how asinine this whole situation is. I really feel bad for the kids. Send me out there! Let me fix the problem!

  1. YnotBiker

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 10-01-13

    The IT department is suffering from the same problems as the rest of the school district. They are sorely understaffed and badly need resources. LAUSD has one of the worst student to adult ratios per school in the nation. They are using 13 new "consultants" to prepare the teachers of 47 schools getting iPads. The local teacher's union is actually asking for more staff (rehiring thousands of laid-off teachers) before asking for a raise. (The last raise was 7 years ago.)

    The school board has let an outside agency do their technical grunt work. This agency has been anti-Mac and makes many errors without consequence. (They were paid to install GPS software on school laptops, but when some were stolen, it was discovered they "forgot. Nothing happened.) This could end up as a famous fiasco for Apple. Who wants to hear students say: "My school district spent a billions dollars on iPads for my school and then took them all back. We can't even take our electronic text books home."

    The Superintendent owns Apple stock and has a joke Ph.d check him out on this Apple commercial for iPads. (Check out those comments too.)
    See also:

  1. bobolicious

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 08-15-02

    Would the NRA suggest it is the people, not the iPads?
    Some also argue homework is over rated, or should be done at school.

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