- Associated Press - Friday, October 24, 2014

AMES, Iowa (AP) - Administrators at Ames Middle School are disabling some chat functions on students’ school-provided laptops after finding some students were abusing the features and not paying attention in class.

School leaders found some students were using the Chromebooks’ chatting and video features as a way to bully, harass and send inappropriate messages to each other, Des Moines television station KCCI reported (http://bit.ly/1trftss ).

Spokesman Kathy Hanson of Ames Community School District said it didn’t take long for teachers to figure out that students weren’t using the laptops as intended.

Some middle school students say the chat features helped them with group projects and getting in touch with their classmates. But one eighth-grader, Dante Sorrentino, said it’s not a huge deal that the chat functions are gone.

Still, Sorrentino said, “When you have the privilege to do something, people take it the wrong way.”

Other students, like Julia Stevens, said she used the chat features to communicate with friends when she was at home.

Ames officials said switching off the chat features is a teachable moment for students. They said the functions may return later.

In August, school leaders presented rules for using chat and video functions for students and parents at an orientation.

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Information from: KCCI-TV, http://www.kcci.com

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