Caught Off Guard; Enforcement of Device Policy Takes Effect

Students Unaware of Longstanding Device Policy
Students Complete Their Work |by Ella Spuria
Students Complete Their Work |by Ella Spuria
Ella Spuria

Personal devices are not permitted at Hudson High School, but many students are only now discovering this policy due to its sudden enforcement. 

According to the 1:1 Program web page found on the Hudson Public Schools website, “Hudson is not a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) district.  Students must use the device issued to them.  Students may not bring their own Chromebook, Computer or iPad to school.” 

This is also explained on the ‘Device Loaner Form’ that all families must sign when their child receives a school-issued device, which is signed in elementary school, middle school and again in ninth grade. Most students I spoke to do not remember the contents of the form they signed.

Though reading what you sign is an essential life skill, the policy becomes confusing when other district documents do not spell out this specific rule. For example, there is no mention of Hudson not being a BYOD district in the Protocol for the Use of District Issued Devices for Students in Grades K-12 nor the Internet Acceptable Use Policy.

To further complicate the issue, there is no mention in the 2023-2024 Student-Parent Handbook, which Principal Dr. Jason Medieros confirmed in an interview. 

Though it is not in the handbook,  Medieros stated, “The policy has always existed.”

The handbook is the document that all education stakeholders would refer to for the rules and regulations of the school; shouldn’t the 1:1 policy regulations be included in the handbook if that is the policy?

 

Many students mentioned that they have brought their own devices to school, and have for years without issue.

“I was unaware that this was part of the school’s policy, so this recent enforcement has come as a major surprise and is extremely frustrating,” said senior Angelina Percuoco.

Students were approached in classrooms in an effort to enforce the policy this year.

“I’ve been told to not use my device before, and haven’t gotten an explanation.” senior Sofia Oliveira added, “I’ve also been using my own device for schoolwork for about a year now and have only been told about this…rule recently.”

“I didn’t know about the rule… I didn’t know [it was being enforced],” junior Olivia Sullivan stated. 

Sullivan was approached after she used her personal device and mentioned that it made her feel weird since out of the three students with personal devices, only two were approached in that block. Sullivan added that the explanation was “basically just… ‘it’s not allowed’ and that’s it.”

Director of Technology Ellen Schuck provided some insight. “When students or teachers bring in their own device, I have no control over what software has been installed on their machines…When you let outside equipment connect to your network what ends up happening is that I’m putting my network at risk,” she stated. 

An unprotected network can lead to security issues. 

Medeiros stated, “A couple times a year you will hear about a school district where they are saying that they were hacked and spent millions of dollars to get that data back. There is a genuine concern about that even though they are rare.”

To gain a greater understanding, Schuck stated that she has attended several workshops and conferences to learn more about protecting the network. 

A cyber security incident is where no data is accessed whereas a breach is where the data is taken and sold to others. 

Hudson High has experienced security incidences but no breaches. A notable example of an incident at the school was in March of 2020, where over 24,000 emails were going out in an hour from a staff member’s email account after they provided their username and password to an unknown link.

“We were marked and… blocked from receiving and sending emails… they shut us down. We could not send emails in and out,” Schuck continued, “it took us two months to fully clean that up before email was flowing smoothly again…my whole staff at times dropping everything”

However, many students are still unaware of any of this information. 

“I’ve already gotten used to it and no one has said anything… if it’s a rule it shouldn’t just be this thing written on paper. It was not made known to me… most people aren’t going to read that piece of paper and if you are a student, you have to be told things multiple times… no one has even told me this,” said senior Ashleigh Fahey.

“I put out an every-other-month newsletter to parents. I have put that very clearly to the parents… I have sent that out to teachers.” Schuck continued, “Have I sent something [about the BYOD policy] out directly to the student body? No, I don’t think I have, however, in the agreement that all parents and students are required to sign…you are not to bring your own device to school…Do people read that document? I can’t tell you whether they do.”

Shuck continued “I don’t know how many of the students read my emails…I know that is not the best way of communicating with students but that’s the way we’re able to reach the entire student body. And I can’t text [students] because I don’t have all [their] numbers.”

Students mentioned never receiving an email in which this rule was described. No announcements have been made. 

“I’ve heard from other people that something is going on with devices and how we can’t use them, but I have NOT heard from a school administrator. Nothing on the morning announcements. I didn’t get an email. I know nothing.” senior Brenda Rodriguez continued, “It’s the school’s job to either email us or simply put something in the morning announcements that will spread around the school.”

Students and the technology department both have expressed their frustrations. On top of that, the technology department has professional and legal responsibilities they need to uphold.

Schuck concluded, “I know [it] sounds controlling…but I have to protect the data.” 

As of November 20, 2023, there has been no change in the handbook nor has any announcement been made.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributors
Avani Kashalikar, Editor-in-Chief
Senior Avani Kashalikar is taking journalism for the second time since her freshman year, but she has been an active writer and editor for all four years. She took this class because she likes Ms. Paton and wanted to improve her writing skills. Kashalikar plays varsity field hockey and volunteers at the dog shelter in her free time. She has gained confidence and talking skills since taking this class her freshman year. Kashalikar has always had it in the back of her mind that she wanted to take this class again senior year and wanted to focus on journalism which is why she came back. Kashalikar’s dream vacation is in Greece or Egypt.
Ella Spuria, Head Photographer, Photo Editor
Junior Ella Spuria has been studying journalism for three years. Spuria took the class mainly because she loves the fast-paced news world. She enjoys taking photos and she wants to write more articles to improve her writing. In Spuria's free time, she enjoys hanging out with her friends, listening to a variety of music, and taking photos of sports but she hates portraits. Spurias dream vacation is to go to Greece.  

Comments (0)

All The Big Red Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *