OC Register Digs Into FFFF’s School Laptop Post, Misses the Point

OC Register Front Page - Saturday September 19, 2009

The OC Register ran a story today on our previous laptop post in which a mother came forward to warn parents about the dangers of FSD’s school laptop program.

Overall the reporter gave a fair assessment to both sides of the controversy, although the article made the mother out to be naive about her duties as a parent to watch her children closely. Those who actually read the mother’s statement on this blog know this to be completely false.

The mother accepted responsibility for wrongly believing the school administrators when they told her that the laptops were safe. In her own words:

I felt stupid for being so naïve in thinking that a child should have a laptop with access to whatever she could dream of. I felt safe in believing that a school district would have the best firewalls to protect my child like they promised that firewalls do. I do believe that parents have a responsibility to watch over their children, and this generation requires a new kind of vigilance, but I also believe that a school has the responsibility to be honest in their abilities to protect our children as well.

Had the district been truthful about the risks associated with the laptops, perhaps this incident could have been avoided. This tragedy acts as yet another example of government employees and electeds distorting or concealing the truth to further their own personal agendas, to the detriment of the public whom they are supposed to serve.

Bottom line: These laptops are not safe for kids to use without direct supervision at all times. That includes all the kids accessing neighborhood wireless on the playground, in front of school, at the bus stop,  at Starbucks or in their own bedrooms. So now the question is, how does a parent monitor a kid with a laptop 24/7?

For most parents, it’s nearly impossible.

23 Replies to “OC Register Digs Into FFFF’s School Laptop Post, Misses the Point”

  1. I also noted that Superintendent Mitch Hovey tried to ditch the responsibility. He missed the point intentionally to cover his ass.

    The machines were peddled as safe. Not just within the confines of the classrooom.

    That lamentable “poll” that accompanied the article was comical – an option to blame an 11 year-old minor? Ye Gods! Are we becoming Texas?

  2. Despite the school district’s claims that this was the only incident on record, I now have more parents coming forward. Stick around…

  3. The only way you are going to protect your child, if you believe “These laptops are not safe for kids to use without direct supervision at all times” is, if you put your child in a Bubble 24/7 like the “Bubble Boy” on TV.

  4. And here is the unintelligible “Dr”. Hovey from the Fullerton Excellence in Education website:

    “To be effective in the 21st century, the Fullerton School District believes that students must be able to develop innovative products and processes using technology, construct knowledge and demonstrate creative thinking.”

    That non-sensical gibberish may impress the school board and unthinking parents, but it does nothing for me.

  5. didnt’t the woman’s article say that she found the material before the school and that it had gone on for months? That district super, in the register said that they get updates weekly, and that they had found the material, but that she had gone to the police already….something doesn’t match here….is this a cover-up? didn’t she say that she took it to the school then the police? so if the school knew about it then why didn’t they take the computer?

  6. Saturday OC Register – the truth comes out, when the child is at school his/her laptop is SECURE.. It’s the parents’ responsibility to SECURE THEIR HOME NETWORK.. Possibly the FSD could have said, (by the way, parents, you have to ensure your HOME INTERNET connection is secure for our filtering software to work at your home) to the parents but anyone using a home Internet connection SHOULD KNOW to take this action…We have…

    This parent was either not Tech Savvy or naive.. I agree w/Suyperintendant Hovey, parents’ take responsibility…

    Maybe a good heart to heart w/these children who are accessing pornography, setting up meetings w/strangers..

    1. You expect Joe Parent to be able to install a firewall on his home network? How many parents even know what a “home network” is? How do they prevent neighbors from opening up their own wireless to everyone?

      Parents can’t install software on the laptop because they are locked down.

    2. Even if the home network was secure, there are plenty of free WiFi connections that would have enabled inappropriate content to be available via the security strategy the district chose to obviously employ.

      There are ways to provide much better security to the laptops – that would help eliminate inappropriate content on ANY network. Unfortunately, that type of security is currently only available for corporate environments and not available for Apple products.

  7. This whole controversy is a red herring.. It’s really about the Laptop Program which has generated controversy from the start.. Recommendation to FSD – you have two options, ditch the Laptop program or laptops don’t go home.. All the children w/o home computers, well tough…

    1. This issue is not a red herring. The laptop program was ill-conceived from the start – for many reasons. Unintended consequences are par for the course when it comes to ill-conceived projects. In this case the misrepresentation and misunderstanding of the security issues goes to the core of a project that never should have adopted.

  8. I was being facetious with “all the children w/o home computers, well tough”..

    It would seem that the laptops were supposed to give all the children, those w/home computers, those w/o, a level playing field..

    Equal access to technology, equal access to academic/life success..

  9. To Fullerton Unified District parent lynch mob:

    Well, either you’re closing your eyes
    To a situation you don’t now wish to acknowledge
    Or you are not aware of the caliber of disaster indicated
    By the presence of Laptops in your community.

    Ya got trouble, my friend, right here,
    I say, trouble right here in Fullerton City.
    Why sure I’m a blogger,
    Certainly mighty proud I say
    I’m always mighty proud to say it.
    I consider that the hours I spend
    With keystrokes on my hand are golden.
    Help you cultivate horse sense
    And a cool head and a keen eye.
    Never take and try to give
    An iron-clad leave to yourself
    From a Friends for Fullerton’s Future blog spot?
    But just as I say,
    It takes judgment, brains, and maturity to score
    In the bloggin’ game,
    I say that any boob kin take
    And shove a blog on their laptop.
    And they call that sloth.
    The first big step on the road
    To the depths of deg-ra-Day–
    I say, first, chat rooms for Fullerton kids,
    Then hard-core Craigslist from all over OC.
    An’ the next thing ya know,
    Your son or daughter’s is playin’ for money
    In a slutted-out g-string.
    And listenin’ to some big out-a-town hustler
    Hearin’ him tell about canine-based who-ha.
    Not a wholesome trottin’ who-ha, neither, no!
    But a one where they set down right on the horse!
    Like to see some stuck-up home ‘boy
    Sittin’ on your home porch? Make your blood boil?
    Well, I should say.
    Friends, lemme tell you what I mean.
    Ya got one, two, three, four, five, six gurlz and boys online.
    Laptops that mark the diff’rence
    Between a good boy or gurl and a bum,
    With a capital “B,”
    And that rhymes with “L” and that stands for Laptop!
    And all week long your Fullerton City
    Youth’ll be frittern away,
    I say your young boyz and gurlz be frittern!
    Frittern away their noontime, suppertime, choretime too!
    Get the s*x on the Laptop,
    Never mind gittin’ homework done
    Or the soccer played or homework completed.
    Never mind goin’ to school anymore
    ‘Til you parents caught your kids with real truancy
    On a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday
    and that’s trouble,
    Oh, yes we got lots and lots a’ trouble.
    I’m thinkin’ of the kids at Golden Hill Elementary School,
    Shirt-tail young ones, peekin’ onto the Laptop
    Windows-based porn after school, look, folks!
    Right here in Fullerton City.
    Trouble with a capital “F”
    And that rhymes with “L” and that stands for Laptop!
    Now, I know all you folks are the right kinda parents.
    I’m gonna be perfectly frank.
    Would ya like to know what kinda conversation goes
    On while they’re surfin’ the internet?
    They’re tryin’ out Bevo, tryin’ out cubebs,
    Tryin’ out career trainin’ like Blog master supreme!
    And braggin’ all about
    How they’re gonna cover up their e-mails with Hide-a-Blog.
    One fine night, they log onto the laptop,
    Headin’ for the LGBTQ website!
    Libertine men and Scarlet women!
    And Rag-time, shameless music
    That’ll grab your son and your daughter
    With the arms of a jungle animal instink!
    Friends, the idle brain is the devil’s playground!

    Trouble, oh we got trouble,
    Right here in Fullerton City!
    With a capital “T”
    That rhymes with “L”
    And that stands for Laptop,
    That stands for Laptop.
    We’ve surely got trouble!
    Right here in Fullerton City,
    Right here!
    Gotta figger out a way
    To keep the young ones moral after school!
    Trouble, trouble, trouble, trouble, trouble…

    Mothers of River City!
    Heed the warning before it’s too late!
    Watch for the tell-tale sign of corruption!
    The moment your son or daughter leaves the house,
    Does he or she sign off his Laptop with a secret screen name?
    Is there Carpal tunnel syndrome on his or her index finger?
    Are neo-liberal notions hidden in his Facebook?
    Is he starting to memorize jokes from Wikipedia’s
    Whiz Bang?
    Are certain words creeping into his conversation?
    Words like ‘Obama?”
    And “so’s your Single Payer Healthcare”
    Well, if so my friends,
    Ya got trouble,
    Right here in Fullerton city!
    With a capital “T”
    And that rhymes with “L”
    And that stands for Laptop.
    We’ve surely got trouble!
    Right here in Fullerton City!
    Remember the Maine, Plymouth Rock and the Golden Rule!
    Oh, we’ve got trouble.
    We’re in terrible, terrible trouble.
    That computer with the two hundred fifty million portals is a devil’s tool!
    Oh yes we got trouble, trouble, trouble!
    With a “T”! Gotta rhyme it with “L”!
    And that stands for Laptop!!!

    1. Chris, that’s an interesting find. Obviously the laptop program was pushed without regard to the safety risks because the stakeholders had much to gain financially.


  10. Um….again the issue here was that the parent was mislead and lied to. Why are we attacking the parenting here? Regardless of how naive this parent was, the information given to her was misrepresented, and because of that she didn’t hover over her child around the clock. “If there’s a will there’s a way” What does that have to do with this? Again, the issue wasn’t about whether or not this kid would ever find porn in her life, it was about parents being lied to. Why is that so hard to see for so many of you?

  11. Concur Fishy. The correct strategy before the board and before the community is to line up parents and have them explain what they were told. How they were sold. If I knew a parent who was technically unprepared to supervise their child on the internet, I would not recommend that they buy them a Wi-Fi capable laptop. Here we have the district selling unprepared parents down the road by making them feel that the district’s brilliant technology management would protect them. Shouldn’t they be saying, “If you are unfamiliar with the internet and it’s perils for children, you should not be providing unsupervised internet access at all.”??? On the districts website, they link to wiredsafety.org which all about Cyberstalking, Cyberbullying and Cyberabuse. For our family, this was not a problem. We operated on the assumption that the kids would try and succeed to find things they shouldn’t. We were all over it. But I have family whom I had to show them what their daughter was doing online. They had no idea. This district has a very big problem with letting chips fall where them may.

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