A one billion dollar initiative to give an iPad to every student and teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District has been temporarily put on hold slightly more than a week after it began.
The program, which was being rolled out in several waves throughout the district, was introduced to students at high schools like Theodore Roosevelt, the Valley Academy of Arts and Sciences and Westchester. Each iPad was protected by security measures that allowed it to hook up to the school’s Internet access. This meant that students could use the iPads on school grounds for academic purposes. However, students were taking the devices home. They quickly discovered that they could circumvent the iPad’s security system by disabling their profile. Before long, they were listening to music, playing games and posting to social media websites.
District officials soon learned of the breach and confiscated the iPads. Security settings are being enhanced to prevent students from being able to access unauthorized content. Once officials are confident that students will be unable to circumvent the academic only guidelines, the iPads will be redistributed and the larger rollout of the program will continue in the rest of the school district.
Some students say that administrators shouldn’t be surprised by the breach or how quickly it happened. “We’re high school students after all. I mean, come on,” student Maria Aguilera is quoted as having said in response to the flap. Today’s high school students have spent their entire lives with advanced technology, leading to quicker understanding of how devices work, and how to make them work the way the student wants them to without regard for the school district’s intentions for use.
LAUSD Police Chief Steven Zipperman, said that he’s “guessing this is just a sample of what will likely occur once this hits Twitter, YouTube or other social media sites.” Considering how easily information is distributed online, Zipperman’s concerns seem valid. Clearly, district officials should proceed with caution before putting iPads back into the hands of students if they don’t want the devices to be misused.