Chromebooks to Homebooks


WEST ORANGE, Nj — Chromebooks are a relatively new addition to West Orange High School (WOHS). Chromebooks are similar to a laptop except, Chromebooks run Google’s Chrome OS and are  primarily designed for use while connected to the internet.  Most of the current student body have yet to attend a WOHS without Chromebook carts, while some, may never attend WOHS with Chromebook carts.

 Last month, instead of putting carts in every classroom, the district chose to give every student their own Chromebook, Chromebook sleeve, mouse and charger to take home. In order to receive a Chromebook students were required to fill out a permission slip, signed by their parents. However, students who did not want one would not fill out the permission slip figuring maybe they would not receive one. This was not the case. Every student, permission slip or not, was given a Chromebook and its accessories as well as a large, printed handout on Chromebook and insurance information. The handbook mentioned that the Chromebook is insured only for “hardware, accidental damage, [and] theft.” However, “damages that result from abuse or neglect are the responsibility of the student and subject to fees, including the cost of full replacement of the device.” The full replacement cost for a new Chromebook is $250.00. In addition, while an accidentally damaged Chromebook is covered by insurance the mouse and charger are not. The estimated price to replace the charger is $40.00. In addition, the sleeve is also not covered by insurance and is estimated to cost $15.00 to replace. Luckily, a new Chromebook charger can be purchased off of Amazon for $15.00 and a new Chromebook sleeve can be purchased off of amazon for $8.00. In addition, students were also recommended to purchase and bring “inexpensive earbuds available for use in class.”

However, not every student has used their Chromebooks since they were assigned last month. Many students have been leaving them at home, or in their lockers. Some students have yet to even charge them. However, some teachers have started to require students to bring their Chromebooks to class because many of their lessons relied on the availability of Chromebook carts.

In contrast to students who rarely, if ever, touch their Chromebooks, there have also been students that bring their Chromebooks to school regularly. They use them everyday in a number of classes. An anonymous student raved about the “efficiency it brings to the work and organization” of the classroom.

While the new Chromebook policy, similar to other new WOHS policies, is controversial, administration is continuing to enforce proper care and management for the Chromebooks.