Borrowed a School Laptop? Mind Your Open Tabs

Students—many from lower-income households—were likely to use school-issued devices for remote learning. But the devices often contained monitoring software.

When tens of millions of students suddenly had to learn remotely, schools lent laptops and tablets to those without them. But those devices typically came with monitoring software, marketed as a way to protect students and keep them on-task. Now, some privacy advocates, parents, and teachers say that software created a new digital divide, limiting what some students could do and putting them at increased risk of disciplinary action.

One day last fall, Ramsey Hootman’s son, then a fifth grader in the West Contra Costa School District in California, came to her

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