LAUSD Pulls Plug on iPad Pilot Until It Can Solve Hacking Issues

The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) has decided to take back iPads from students after a hacking scandal rocked the fragile pilot's early start. The devices recovered from students at Westchester High School and Roosevelt High School and will be kept until the district strengthens security measures, according to Howard Blume of Los Angeles Times.

LAUSD recently began to implement an ambitious plan to buy and distribute iPads to its 640,000 students in the nation's second-largest school district by late 2014. As part of the $1 billion project, LAUSD started rolling out iPads in a limited pilot.

In the first phase of the project, the devices were distributed in 49 of the district's 1,124 K-12 schools. Each student received an iPad pre-loaded with educational applications and other programs useful in the classroom. Broadacres and Cimarron Elementary in Hawthorne became the first to roll out tablet computers and others have followed.

Students at Roosevelt and Westchester schools confirmed that they have returned iPads to school officials. District administrators learned a week ago that students skirted security measures that were intended to block free browsing of the Internet.

The district does not allow students to use iPads for free browsing. According to students, they had been disappointed at their inability to get to social networking and music streaming sites.

The district tally of hackers was 260 students at Roosevelt, 10 students from Angelou Community High School in South Park and 70 at Westchester High. The numbers could be higher, based on reports from students and employees at the campuses.

"We don't have a firm timeline on when students can take the devices home yet," spokesman Thomas Waldman said in a statement. "We are working with Apple to develop a solution. 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."

Students do not know when they will get iPads back. Westchester senior Brian Young said that teachers were talking about the possibility that iPads might not return until late December, although administrators did not make any predictions, he added.

At Roosevelt, "we don't know when or if we will able to use the iPads again for classroom instruction — this week, this semester or this year," said Lisa Alva, the coordinator for academic services to low-income students. The administration told her that it had collected only about two-thirds of the iPads from students by the end of school Friday. If that's true, then many students also may have been violating the recent instructions to keep the iPads on campus.

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