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Through Our Eyes

Reports from student journalists at Melrose Elementary, John Hopkins Middle and Lakewood High schools in St. Petersburg

Access denied: why students need Wi-Fi

Senior Ian Frederick uses his phone during class on Nov. 18. “I feel upset because the computers barely work and my phone is going slow,” Frederick said.

De'Qonton Davis | SNN

Senior Ian Frederick uses his phone during class on Nov. 18. “I feel upset because the computers barely work and my phone is going slow,” Frederick said.



Lakewood students have been shut off from the rest of the world. Now that our personal devices can't be hooked up to the school Wi-Fi, we've lost an opportunity for 21st century education. This is 2015-2016, and we should have access to technology. There are all sorts of programs out there used for education that students could access from their phones in a matter of seconds, but now - if we want to follow the rules - we are forced to boot up the school system's netbooks, which may or may not start up properly.

When using a personal device, kids have easier access to programs like Kahoot!, a game-based learning program used by some Lakewood teachers. Our personal laptops are generally a newer model than the netbooks, our phones are faster and almost always on us, and personal tablets run just as well - if not better - than the ones provided by the school.

On top of this, some dual enrollment courses suggest you bring in your own device for access to college websites to complete assignments. Taking away access to Wi-Fi creates a road block in dual enrollment courses. Those teachers now have to ensure that they'll have a cart of netbooks handy at all times, which can be an inconvenience to other teachers who also need those carts.

Putting education on the back burner for a moment, we can't help but feel a little trapped by the Wi-Fi being taken away for personal use. Lunch is a time when we're allowed to use our phones, allowed to listen to music, and now most kids can't do that without using their own data - if they even have data. Students find it hard enough to focus throughout our six-hour day, and now the little bit of liberation and access to the outside world we had is gone.

By taking away the Wi-Fi we're forced into a situation where the only way to take part in the small amount of joy given to our dreadful days here involves breaking the rules. The school administration said that we are no longer allowed our personal freedom because we slowed down the system, but we all know kids have the password now and the system seems to be in working order. They assumed the generation raised on technology wouldn't find a source and get the information we needed, which is comedic at best.

Another point is that some students don't have data plans or access to Wi-Fi at home. When they come to school it's their only opportunity to check emails that could come from colleges, check on family members that live in another state, or do something as simple as check updates from news stations. By taking away the Wi-Fi, we've cut them off from the rest of the world.

First, we had our individuality stripped from us by dress code, and now we can't even check up on our friends or spend a little time looking at our blogs during a time just for that. Every year we're forced to conform a little more, give up something else, deal with another pointless rule because someone higher up decided it was a good idea when in reality they've just made another obstacle for us to jump over, another problem to work out, and another reason to dislike coming to school.

[Last modified: Tuesday, February 23, 2016 2:41pm]


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