Staples’ “Bring your own device policy” unfair, inconvenient

Laptops+are+an+essential+part+of+school+supplies%2C+one+that+is+impossible+to+succeed+without.

Photo by Ryan Hong ’23

Laptops are an essential part of school supplies, one that is impossible to succeed without.

Whether or not they know it by name, every Staples student is familiar with the bring your own device (BYOD) policy. According to this policy, Staples students are responsible for buying their own computer — or comparable device — and bringing it to class everyday to utilize for various assignments. Due to the ever-increasing amount of online classwork, having a computer is an absolute necessity for school. 

For the large majority of students, this policy won’t be much of an issue. Westport is an affluent town and most students will be able to afford a personal device. However, for students who may struggle financially, the BYOD policy is unfair as it forces their families to spend money on an expense that may be difficult to afford. 

This policy is also an inconvenience to students who might have problems with their devices that require them to get them repaired. Students who aren’t able to use their computer due to technical difficulties have to borrow a school chromebook. With the addition of a recent policy, the school only has a very small number of on-loan computers available, meaning there is a chance that a student whose computer breaks will not be able to use one in school. This essentially punishes students for something that is entirely out of their control.

It’s the schools’ duty as educators to make sure that students have access to all the tools they need to learn, and that means ensuring students always have access to a functioning computer.”

— Ryan Hong '23

While supplying computers to students would be an added school expense, doing so is necessary in order to ensure that all students have a fair opportunity to be able to access online resources. 

Many schools across Connecticut already offer computer loan programs. Some, like Bristol public schools, offer school-owned computers for students to use for school purposes. In addition, there exist several government programs students can apply for that offer grants to pay for a computer. Staples could look to these systems as models for how to implement a cost-effective computer loan system.

As education becomes increasingly internet-based, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is essential that all students have access to a computer. It’s the schools’ duty as educators to make sure that students have access to all the tools they need to learn, and that means ensuring students always have access to a functioning computer. 

As one of the most well-funded high schools in the state, Staples has the resources to do this, and their highest priority should be ensuring all students receive an equal and fair education.