Some parents balk at tech policy agreement

Local News

MAHOMET, Ill. (WCIA) — Starting this school year, the Mahomet-Seymour School District will give students Chromebooks for free.

But some parents say they’re not okay with the policy they and their children have to sign. The main concern many have is they’re unsure about the wording in the policy contract. Many are questioning the details of it and how it might affect their kids.

The district is giving about 1700 Chromebooks to students in 6th – 12th grades. The superintendent says it’s quote “an educational learning tool and a universal gift of access to technology.”

But some parents say they don’t want to sign the agreement form which comes along with it.

“I have concerns with the policy as written because it puts all of the responsibility for the device on the parents and the students.”

Meghan Hennesy’s 7th grader will get one of the Chromebooks. It’s not an option. Families have to take the computer whether they want to or not because it will be used in their classes.

In order to register for school, they have to sign a form accepting all liability for the device.

“For damages it could be $50, $100 for a second incident, and the third incident you cover the cost of replacing the device entirely.”

They’re asked to sign a form called the Acceptable Responsible Use Agreement. A signature means parents release the school district from any and all claims of damages from their child’s use of the district’s network. Parents are also responsible for the actual device itself.

Erica Religioso’s husband already signed the forms and completed registration for their kids.

“I wish I would’ve looked at some of that policy and made myself more aware.”

After they talked about the issues other parents had, her husband isn’t too worried.

“I don’t think he’s as concerned about it. I think he’s just kind of go with the flow and not super concerned about it.”

But Hennesy, like several other parents, don’t think it’s fair.

“That’s one of the big reasons that I won’t sign the policy. I don’t feel like parents and children should shoulder 100% of the responsibility. It is a district-owned device.”

Parents were told at the last school board meeting even if they did not sign the Acceptable Responsible Use Agreement during online registration, their kids would still be able to go to school. 

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