CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio - A dozen thefts in the past two weeks have robbed middle school students in the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District of their ability to take home district-issued iPads.
Superintendent Doug Heuer announced that "our middle school teachers today collected their iPads at the close of the school day. As long as our students are being preyed upon, our students will no longer be taking iPads off of school property."
The district-wide program, which began in September, issued students the new technology to help motivate them and to enhance their learning experience. The iPads were used to complete school assignments and homework.
But in the past two weeks, near Monticello, Wiley and Roxboro middle schools, students on their way to or from school were intimidated, and in one instance assaulted, into giving up their iPads. The district decided that having the students only use the iPads while in school would keep them safer on the street.
"They'd get approached by one or two or three males, in two instances we had four males," said Cleveland Heights Police Chief Jeffery Robertson. "And they forcibly took their book bag because they knew, had reason to believe it had an iPad in it."
Cleveland Heights, University Heights and South Euclid police have increased their presence around the schools when students were walking to school or going home. Robertson said the thieves would try to sell the stolen devices for quick cash.
"We've arrested four of five males in different cases."
That's little comfort for Heuer and the district as they're forced to end a program they hoped would invigorate the students in their schools.
"The students and staff are deeply disappointed that we had to do this and so is the entire administration," Heuer said.