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LAUSD Reports 71 Missing iPads. Gosh, Where Did They Go?

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On the heels of the news that several high school students in the Los Angeles Unified School District had managed to hack their district-issued iPads to access restricted sites and apps comes word that officials are also trying to locate 71 missing iPads.

The 71 iPads in the wind were part of a 13-school trial run of the controversial program to equip every student in the district with the devices, according to the L.A. Times.

The issue of security has become a frontrunner among the iPad program problems, thanks to not only the matter of theft, but also the hacking by intrepid young scholars—the latter of which happened to have been more widespread than the LAUSD first admitted.

However, the LAUSD stand behind their plan, and says the 71 "lost" tablets doesn't mean the outlook is bleak for the fate of the remaining thousands of iPads that are in the hands of school kids daily. There have been 14,000 iPads distributed thus far this school year, of which just 5 were reported missing, and of those, one was located.

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69 of the 71 "lost" iPads from the pilot program went missing from the same school. Although the school and district rigorously re-examined all the possible means by which improper storage or mixed up bookkeeping could have accounted for the shortfall, ultimately it came down to individual iPads signed out to individual students being just plain gone. Those students are reportedly being interviewed by the LAUSD. (One can imagine the likelihood those iPads are being used for marathon Angry Birds sessions by little siblings or were long sold off for Taco Bell money and concert tickets.)

Ultimately, the LAUSD might be SOL, because if the pilot program student says he or she turned in their iPad, the district will be hard-pressed to challenge that.

Lt. Jose Santome of the LAUSD's Police Department says that last year's losses have led to more strident security features on the $700-apiece devices.

When the new crop of iPads fell victim to hacking by kids pissed off that they couldn't use the tablets for what most of us use them for (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube), software embedded in the iPads alerted the LAUSD of the security breech.

But there were more hackers than the LAUSD initially admitted. From the Times:

When the hacking came to light Tuesday, the district announced that 185 students had been involved. The current figures are 260 students at Roosevelt High in Boyle Heights, 10 students from Angelou Community High School in South Park and 70 at Westchester High.

It may be a busy year ahead for the pencil pushers keeping tabs of these thousands of tablets at the LAUSD.