Considering the fact that the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is the second largest school district in the nation and what some would call a “taste maker” for future programs, it appears that district-wide implementation of iPads might be dead in the water if LAUSD does not do something to cure its security ailments. Yesterday, we told you about 300 students in the District who essentially hacked their iPads to gain access to unauthorized websites. The L.A. Times recently reported that the District also “misplaced” 71 Apple tablets.
According to the L.A. Times, District officials are trying to track down 71 missing iPads, 69 of which went missing from the same campus. Officials told the L.A. Times that new security measures are in place to “frustrate future thefts.”
Last year, LAUSD rolled out a trial run of iPad implementation across 13 schools. According to the L.A. Times, at the end of the school year, when students turned in the tablets they were issued, 71 of them were not in their proper place. Because of this issue, the District ramped up its tracking efforts by adding stronger safeguards. Global positioning can now be activated for every tablet. Plus, an electronic inventory system registers who is currently responsible for a particular device and District officials can remotely shut down iPads reported stolen.
“We have a very vigorous control for this rollout,” said Lt. Jose Santome of the school district’s Police Department. “We know what’s going out and deployed on every campus.”
The proof is in the pudding. Of the 14,000 iPads issued in the new program, five went missing, but were subsequently recovered.
According to the news report, 69 of the missing iPads from the beta program were assigned to Valley Academy of Arts and Science, which incidentally was one of the three culprits of the iPad hack we reported on yesterday.
The District claims to have linked the missing tablets to students, but a full investigation needs to be completed. If students claim that they turned their iPads in at the end of the year, there is no way of proving otherwise and the tablets may end up gone forever. At about $700 each, that is nearly $50,000 lost in just the test period of the iPad program at LAUSD.
Most school districts can’t afford to lose $50,000. Unless the LAUSD can prove that their new, more stringent security measures work to deter theft, it is likely that other districts won’t follow their lead into an iPad–friendly education program.