Our local high school is giving all students a free!!
laptop for the coming school year.
I attended tonight's mandatory "orientation session" for parents and students, where the speaker said that:
- all students would be required to have a laptop computer for the upcoming school year,
- only school-provided equipment will be allowed in the classroom,
- no modifications to the operating system (Windows)--or installed programs (e.g. MS Office 365, etc.)--are allowed,
- Sophos anti-virus and monitoring/logging software will be installed and are not to be tampered with,
- insurance is recommended ($50 per student per year) to avoid being liable for the $810 replacement cost if the equipment is damaged, and
- repairs are ONLY to be performed by the school district's IT staff.
"That's it. Thanks. Drop off your paperwork on the way out...including the one-pager saying that you understand and agree to all the terms and conditions in the 'Student Laptop Computer Handbook'."
The frustrating bit: No discussion and no Q&A.
No Expectation of Privacy
Students have no expectation of confidentiality or privacy with respect to any usage of a laptop computer, regardless of whether that use is for district-related or personal purposes, other than as specifically provided by law. The school district may, without prior notice or consent, log, supervise, access, view, monitor, and record use of student laptop computers at any time for any reason related to the operation of the school district. By using a laptop computer, students agree to such access, monitoring, and recording of their use.
In light of the Lower Merion School District spying scandal
from a couple of years ago, I was expecting something a little more protective of the privacy of our children.
I'll conclude with a little irony (also from the Student Laptop Computer Handbook):
The goal remains to promote self-directed, life-long learners.