Who pays for LAUSD’s broken or stolen iPads?

Who pays for LAUSD’s broken or stolen iPads?

the Net movie posterI’ve written a couple of things on the Los Angeles Unified School District’s gift of iPads to its students. In July, I predicted the kids would “jailbreak” the iPads. They did.

Remember, these iPads are costing taxpayers $1 billion. That’s 1/7th what the Proposition 30 tax increase is bringing in this year.

But who pays if the iPads are lost or stolen, which will happen often? The Times asked:

“The question emerged after revelations that 300 or so students at Roosevelt High School skirted security measures on the device and visited unauthorized websites. In response, the district suspended all home use of the Apple tablets, which have gone out to about two dozen schools so far.

“Ultimately, officials want the iPads used at home — that’s considered a key element of their educational value.”

But if the iPads go home, the kids will jailbreak them. It’s just the way of things. When Bill Gates was in high school, back in the early 1970s, he “jailbroke” the school’s primitive computer system to assign himself seats next to cute girls.

The only thing that has changed is the power of the computer systems. The kids always will find ways to jailbreak any system. I don’t know how to do it. And I don’t even have an iPad. But no doubt there are Web sites with instructions.

The cost

“But their dollar value also became a concern at a meeting Wednesday of a district committee overseeing technology efforts. Senior district officials acknowledged that they haven’t decided on consequences if the $700 iPads are lost or broken.

“‘It’s extremely disconcerting that the parent and student responsibility issue has not been hammered out, and that different parents and students received different information during the rollout,’ said Board of Education member Monica Ratliff, who chaired the meeting.”

Although privat- sector companies mess up too and lose money, usually they would have thought of the cost, and potential loss, early on in the process. Companies that stay stupid too long go broke. Not government. Mistakes are made up with tax increases.

Then there’s the problem of parents’ ability to pay. A lot of these kids’ families are poor. That’s why they need to be given the iPads, instead being asked to buy them in the first place. How will the money be extracted from the parents?

What will be the role of the Los Angeles School Police Department — a gigantic department within the school district? The LASPD’s actual mission statement (all caps in original): “THE MISSION OF THE LOS ANGELES SCHOOL POLICE DEPARTMENT IS TO ASSIST STUDENTS, TEACHERS AND ADMINISTRATORS AND OTHER STAFF IN PROVIDING A SAFE AND TRANQUIL ENVIRONMENT IN WHICH THE EDUCATIONAL PROCESS CAN TAKE PLACE.”

The LASPD even gets support from the Los Angeles Police Department’s Air Support Division. So the LASPD could use the LAPD-ASD’s helicopters to track down the LAUSD’s lost iPads, using Apple’s “Find My iPhone, iPad and Mac” feature.

Finally, if a family won’t pay for a lost or stolen iPad, will the LASPD arrest and imprison them, as it does in cases of truancy? (See page 9 of this LAUSD PowerPoint, screen shot below.)

Truancy LAUSD

Tags assigned to this article:
John SeilerLAUSDProp. 30iPadLASPD

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