Rocket Fumes: School-Issued Computers

Do you like the new school-issued computers?

Alice Lin (‘22), Editor

In the beginning of the school year, most students used their own computer or they borrowed one from the school for school work purposes. But now in the middle of the school year, every student at RMHS was given a school-issued computer. According to an email from last month the principal, Mr. Tracey stated, “The school-issued laptop is the only device students should use while on campus and in classes.” There are two main reasons behind the use of school laptops which includes ensuring the consistency in teaching and the limited capacity for tech support. 

Originally, students were informed the BYOD wireless network would be shut off on January 24th due to the lack of network bandwidth. The shutting down of BYOD stirred up many debates and numerous students wrote emails to Mr. Tracey to share their opposing opinions. Luckily, our school was able to fix the problem by adding a new network, “TELNet” to allow students to have phone service within the building. 

I decided to ask two students if they liked the school-issued computers. 

Do you like the new school-issued computers?


Pete Koster (‘22)

I like the new school laptops because I can keep my own laptop at home and keep the school issued one in my bag. It also means I don’t have to worry about finding laptops at school to use when I forget my personal one at home. While the new computers don’t have the best specs in terms of performance, they write papers and do projects just fine, which is what we need them for. I also have friends in different towns around us (Waltham, North Reading, Wilmington, etc) that have had school issued laptops for years now. So while us getting them might be new, its expected if you look at other districts.


Althea Culaba (‘23)

While I appreciate the school and applaud their efforts in successfully implementing their one-to-one program, making the school computers mandatory was borderline ineffectual. There were a good number of students, including myself, who had grown accustomed to working with their Apple devices and using the Mac OS operating system. In switching over to a Windows-based operating system, it brought forth an unaccounted-for learning curve. Usually this would not have been too big of an issue, but because these laptops did not save login data (bookmarks, sign-ins, etc.) that simply added to the time spent simply trying to set up.

Several also found that their school-issued laptops performed much slower than their personal ones, whether operating on Mac OS or Windows, so it seemed to be a complete downgrade in general. I know what I am capable of, and what my own laptop is capable of—it seems irrational that I should not be allowed access to it. Thus, it is essential that every student at RMHS have access to technology, but limiting (decreasing) one’s access to their own (personal) devices  was a poor choice.