Wake Schools will require parents to approve kids for technology

Jim Merrill, superintendent of Wake County schools

Wake County Public School System parents will be required to sign a form that allows their children to have access to technology in the classroom or no access at all, beginning with the 2015-16 school year, the school system said in a news release.

The Board of Education on Tuesday approved a policy that requires every student in the system to have a signed form on file regarding technology use and access. Parents will be required to select whether their students can participate in instruction involving any form of computer technology.

Before the new policy, parents had to elect to opt out of computer technology access for their children. The new policy was put in place to better clarify parents’ preferences around access.

This means students whose parents opted out would be unable to use of any kind of computer, including desktops, laptops or any digital device such as tablets or cell phones. It also includes internet access.

“This is an ‘all or none’ policy,” said Marlo Gaddis, Senior Director of Instructional Technology and Library Media Services. “It is important for parents to know that they must sign the form indicating whether or not they give permission for technology access, knowing that to deny it could present some challenges in the future as students prepare for the use of technology in college and careers.”

Where possible, educators would make accommodations for students whose parents deny the use of technology and digital resources, the system said. But Wake Schools said that parents be aware that certain technology-centric courses (e.g., Computer Assisted Design, Gaming Design, Computer Science) will not be available to those who opt out.

Those students who opt out also would not have access to digital resources that allow them the ability to collaborate and communicate globally.

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