- Associated Press - Sunday, January 31, 2016

MARIETTA, Ga. (AP) - A metro Atlanta high school’s new reliance on iPads for classroom work is raising concerns among some parents that students without the technology could get left behind.

Walton High School is directing parents of its nearly 2,600 students to buy iPads for their children to use in classroom assignments starting this month, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported (https://on-ajc.com/1OZ5FNL).

Cobb County school officials say they’re making some iPads available for check-out for students who can’t afford them, but they’ve said those devices can only be used at school and can’t be taken home.

It’s a first-of-its kind initiative for Georgia’s second-largest school system, and that Walton would be the only high school in Cobb County expecting all students to have iPads at school, the Atlanta newspaper reported.

Some parents are expressing concern.

“I can’t imagine how the kids are not going to be left behind if they don’t have one,” said Micheal Hane, one of a group of parents who finds the new policy problematic. “I think there’s plenty (of students) that don’t have iPads for sure.”

Cobb County school officials declined to say how many students don’t have iPads at Walton, the Journal-Constitution reported.

State law says all children in Georgia are entitled to a “free appropriate public education,” and forbids schools to “require any pupil or parent to purchase any instructional materials and content; computer hardware, software and technical equipment necessary to support such materials and content,” the Atlanta newspaper reported.

At Walton, there were two meetings in October to inform parents of the iPad initiative, school officials say. The school also says it surveyed parents before implementing the new policy, though some parents said they were not aware of the survey or disagreed with the new iPad policy.

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Information from: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, https://www.ajc.com

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