Back in June, Apple announced that it had been awarded a $30 million deal with the Los Angeles Unified School District to supply 35,000 iPads to students in the district. That program was announced as a pilot effort that was projected to lead to all 640,000 students in the district receiving iPads by the end of 2014.
However, a report from the Los Angeles Times indicates that the school district is experiencing difficulties with students bypassing content restrictions on the devices, thus forcing the school district to halt the home use of the tablets and jeopardizing the full rollout of the program.
It took exactly one week for nearly 300 students at Theodore Roosevelt High School to hack through security so they could surf the Web on their new school-issued iPads, raising new concerns about a plan to distribute the devices to all students in the district.
"Outside of the district's network ... a user is free to download content and applications and browse the Internet without restriction," two senior administrators said in a memo to the Board of education and L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy. "As student safety is of paramount concern, breach of the ... system must not occur."
Specifically, the students simply deleted personal profiles from the district-issued iPads, which then enabled them to browse websites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Pandora, all of which had been blocked on the devices.
Apple has long had a heavy focus on the educational market, entering a new phase with the introduction of the iPad in 2010. The company has also often discounted its product lineup for students with its yearly back-to-school program, and has pushed its initiative to bring iPads to classroom on an international scale, as evidenced by its efforts to land educational deal in Turkey that would see the country purchasing more than $4.5 billion worth of iPads.