With multiple weeks down in the new school year, parents in Hempstead say their kids still don’t have access to laptops they need for online learning.
Many parents and students are feeling extremely frustrated with the lack of help, including Tyanne Carlos, who has been trying to help her granddaughter navigate distance learning without a laptop.
“She doesn’t do the work, she can’t graduate, and I’m not going to have the school penalize her for the things that they couldn’t do that they were supposed to do,” says Carlos.
Out of the 6,400 students in Hempstead School District, roughly half of them received laptops so far. The ones who didn’t receive them will be getting paper packets with assignments sent to their homes.
The school district says they’re supposed to receive a shipment this week. The rest are on “back order.” School board trustee Lamont Johnson says it is a supply-and-demand issue.
“I’m sure you’re aware that many other districts are facing same problem, it’s not a Hempstead issue,” says Johnson.
But some parents say they just do not believe that.
“Hempstead School District, you should be ashamed of yourself. We are tired, we demand that you release the devices,” says Peggy Perkins.
Parents say they were told by the state Board of Education that the school district had a “smart school investment grant” approved in February for laptop purchases, and that funding is available if needed.
“If they applied for the grant, where are the devices?” asks Thern Shivers. “If they did not apply for the grant, what is the problem?”
In a statement to News 12, the district says the allegation that the school board has failed to use funds to purchase laptops is not true.