Laptops distributed to seniors based on AP and IB classes taken

Mathias Medel, Staff Writer

After the Sweetwater Union High School District (SUHSD) budget crisis excluded seniors from laptop distribution, Bonita Vista High (BVH) subtly enforced a new policy that allows a small group of seniors to obtain school computers.

“The criteria [SUHSD] used [to distribute laptops] was that students who had three or more AP classes would receive devices, limiting it to those students because they best match the amount of available laptops,” principal Roman Del Rosario Ed. D said. 

Due to the large amounts of damaged laptops received last year, the district has slowly began to repair and distribute them. According to an email provided by Del Rosario from the Director of Information Technology and Enterprise Architecture at SUHSD, David Delacalzada, there were approximately 1,846 damaged devices returned last year.

“The amount [of computers] that were not deemed as usable was more than [SUHSD] had expected,” Del Rosario said.” I think it was in tandem with the budget situation where there is an additional reserve funds when things are not already in the budget.”

In light of the shortage of laptops, the district plans to initiate a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program, allowing students from all grades to bring their personal devices to school. BVH Computer Technician, David Elsheikh, noted that the program will allow students to have access to their school’s Wi-Fi.

SUHSD was in the final stages of certifying this program, waiting for a pre-pilot group of parents and students to verify device procedures and security and online documentation acknowledgement. The week of October 7th was host to the official pilot for the following schools: Hilltop High, Olympian High and Otay Ranch High. While the pilot was launched, the status of the BYOD program remains nonexistent at BVH. 

“There isn’t a plan to have a Bring Your Own Device [program] until they work out the issues through the pilot. Once that is established, there’ll be a timetable of implementation, along with some administrative regulations,” Del Rosario said. 

However, the current status of school laptop distribution is causing controversy throughout the voices of the class of 2020. According to a poll conducted on Oct.  24, 2019, 20% of the 126 seniors surveyed have a school laptop. Senior Ruby Rodriguez emphasized concerns regarding the necessity of laptops for college applications and SAT studying. 

“[The district] is really late,” Rodriguez said. “[Seniors] are barely getting laptops now, even though college applications are already in session and SAT studying has already passed.”

Although school laptops are a prominent topic being discussed throughout the halls of BVH, the status of device distribution in the future is unclear. As the district continues to repair damaged laptops and develop the BYOD program, BVH seniors will have to wait for their school laptops. With the current budget crisis at SUHSD, Del Rosario believes the possibility of seniors receiving laptops is low .

“[Technology] has to be better for us to use it, and sometimes technology leads to innovation. Sometimes it’s just a substitute for what people can do without the technology,” Del Rosario said. “If there are changes for some reasoneither our revenues go up or expenditures go downthen I think it is going to be something that we see. But I think the future of the laptops is now uncertain.”