The case against the “Kutztown 13” — a group of high school students charged with felonies for tinkering with their school-issued Apple iBooks — seems to be ending mostly with a whimper, according to The Associated Press. Last year the Kutztown Area School District issued some 600 Apple iBooks to every student at the high school, about 50 miles northwest of Philadelphia, and some students discovered the Mac OS X Admin user password taped to the backs of the iBooks. Students used this password to download and install Apple’s iChat AV, among other things.
“In meetings with students over the last several days, the Berks County juvenile probation office has quietly offered the students a deal in which all charges would be dropped in exchange for 15 hours of community service, a letter of apology, a class on personal responsibility and a few months of probation. ‘The probation department realizes this is small potatoes,’ said William Bispels, an attorney representing nearly half of the accused students,” Michael Rubinkam reports for The Associated Press.
“The 13 were initially charged with computer trespass and computer theft, both felonies, and could have faced a wide range of sanctions, including juvenile detention. The Kutztown Area School District said it reported the students to police only after detentions, suspensions and other punishments failed to deter them from breaking school rules governing computer usage,” Rubinkam reports. “But the students, their families and outraged supporters around the nation said that authorities overreacted, punishing the kids not for any horrible behavior but because they outsmarted the district’s technology workers.”
Full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: It’s good to see the Berks County juvenile probation office doing the right thing in this case. As we said when this story broke, the school officials could have easily avoided this mess by just taking the iBooks away or at least setting up a secure admin password (and not taping it to the back of the screens) before giving them back to the students. And get some training for your school system’s IT staff while you’re at it.
Related MacDailyNews articles:
Kutztown students face felony charges for Apple iBook misuse – August 10, 2005
Pennsylvania’s Kutztown Area High School students get 640 Apple iBooks – December 06, 2004