My school district just shelled out $600,000 to issue laptops to every high school student. They also hired a technology expert to manage these laptops. The salary for this position is $130,000 per year. In this wealthy school district, every kid already owns his or her own laptop. Now, they’ll get another one.
By the time Jerry Crocamo, a computer network engineer, arrived in Hoboken’s school system in 2011, every seventh, eighth and ninth grader had a laptop. Each year, a new crop of seventh graders were outfitted. Crocamo’s small tech staff was quickly overwhelmed with repairs.
We had “half a dozen kids in a day, on a regular basis, bringing laptops down, going ‘my books fell on top of it, somebody sat on it, I dropped it,’ ” said Crocamo.
Screens cracked. Batteries died. Keys popped off. Viruses attacked. Crocamo found that teenagers with laptops are still… teenagers.
“We bought laptops that had reinforced hard-shell cases so that we could try to offset some of the damage these kids were going to do,” said Crocamo. “I was pretty impressed with some of the damage they did anyway. Some of the laptops would come back to us completely destroyed.”
They had to deal with theft, access to porn websites, wireless poachers, and licensing fees. It was a disaster. Now, they have to pay to have all those laptops destroyed.