RICHMOND, R.I. (WPRI) — As students settle into a new school year, a debate over laptop computers is brewing in the Chariho Regional School District.
Megan Warner is starting her junior year of high school except this year, she’s being home-schooled.
“I can go through a lot more stuff at my own pace,” Warner said.
Warner lives in the Chariho district and went to the region’s high school for her freshman and sophomore years.
Like all students in the district, she was assigned a laptop for her schoolwork.
“That was her textbook,” Warner’s father Mike said. “Everything is on there.”
State law requires school districts to provide textbooks for home instruction, so Mike assumed that the district would provide a laptop for his daughter.
Instead, she got a stack of paper textbooks.
“She’s never had anything but the computer but it would make our lives easier and they just won’t do anything to make our life easier,” he said. “She’s definitely at a disadvantage.”
Chariho’s Assistant Superintendent Jane Daly says laptops have not replaced paper textbooks.
“We do have some hardcovers and some on the computer,” she said. “But when it’s on the computer, it’s really an instructional tool.”
When a parent is providing home instruction, Daly says they are looking for support with the curriculum and the instruction is something they chose to provide on their own. Chariho’s school laptop policy only applies to students who are working toward a Chariho diploma.
“They have to be enrolled in the school system,” Daly said.
This is a decision that Mike is appealing to the school committee. If the Warner’s are not satisfied with the result of their pending appeal, they can also appeal to the Rhode Island Department of Education.