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East Chicago Schools Take Away Students’ Laptops After Robberies

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A man is seen typing on his laptop

A man is seen typing on his laptop. (Photo credit Lili Warren/AFP/Getty Images)

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Updated 11/10/2011 at 5:30 p.m.

EAST CHICAGO, Ind. (CBS) — Students in East Chicago, Ind., have suddenly found themselves unplugged from the laptop computers they had been given last winter.

Students in grades nine through 12 use the MacBooks at East Chicago Central High School.  But principal Wendel McCullom says a student walking a few blocks from school was held up at gunpoint, for his school-issued computer. Fortunately, the student was not hurt.

After the mid-October incident, a decision was made to have all students with MacBooks return them to school, McCullom said. Students will now use the laptops in their classrooms and at the school media center.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports

“As I explained to the students, the last thing I want to do is call your parent and inform them that their child has been harmed because of a piece of equipment that the school has provided to them to use at home,” McCullom told CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot.

Students were disappointed by the decision, but said they understand, too.

“I think it’s like for the better, so that way we’ll have computers in general,” Jasmin Maldonado said. “I think it’s ignorant that people are stealing them.”

An 18-year-old Harvey man was charged recently with robbing two students of their laptops as they walked home, the Northwest Indiana Times. Another laptop that was reported lost or stolen was found in Mexico last school year, and another was purchased by someone on Craigslist a few weeks ago, the Northwest Indiana Times reported.

But parents tell the Northwest Indiana Times they are not very happy about how administrators went about retrieving the laptops.

Students at East Chicago Central High School were called to the auditorium and ordered to give up their laptops, and students who didn’t bring the computers to school that day were escorted home by an East Chicago police to retrieve them, the Northwest Indiana Times reported.

Students who want to use the laptops now have extended hours in the media lab to accommodate them, Le Mignot reports.

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