UPTOWN — A dozen iPads used for lessons at Courtenay Elementary School are missing, and the remaining devices are likely under lock and key for the rest of the school year as the principal figures out how to keep more of them from "walking out" of Courtenay.
Teacher Sharon Simmons asked Principal Macquline King at a local school council meeting last week when teachers would regain access to the iPads, explaining that her students' reading instruction includes websites and online novels.
King told Simmons and others at the meeting, "I have to find a way to secure them."
"Then I can discuss what's going to happen to them, because they're walking out of here," she said, stressing that "if they slowly leave, we do not have the funds to replenish them."
At least 12 iPads were reported stolen about two weeks ago, according to teachers and council members at the merged school, 4420 N. Beacon Ave., which has about 600 students.
CPS would only acknowledge that the devices are nowhere to be found, and won't say how many are missing. A spokeswoman said this week that CPS was still investigating the matter and hadn't classified it as a theft.
Courtenay Local School Council Chairwoman Cassandra Vickas said Tuesday "My understanding is that they were stolen, they weren't misplaced.
"We don't know who did it, we don't know how they did it," she said, noting that every classroom that uses iPads has a cart that the devices are typically locked in after teachers collect them at the end of lessons.
A Courtenay teacher said eight of the devices and a MacBook laptop were stolen from an iPad cart in another teacher's room while she was on a field trip, and that several more iPads seemed "to walk off" one at a time in subsequent days.
Whoever took the devices might have known the code to unlock the cart, school officials said. CPS was not able to confirm what happened.
Keeping track of the devices hadn't been an issue until now, "that's why we're so upset," Vickas said.
She said that the school's iPads had all been rounded up and were being given new pass codes and fitted with other security measures to make them easier to recover and tougher to use if stolen.
"As a parent, I would like them to have them back before the end of the year," Vickas said.
But with less than two weeks left until school gets out, Vickas believes "the school may decide to just secure them for the summer and redistribute in the fall anyway."
It wasn't clear Tuesday how many iPads had been given to the school, but CPS had promised there would be an iPad for each student in grades 3-8 at welcoming schools that received students from one of the 50 schools the Board of Educated voted to close last year.
The board voted to merge Courtenay with Joseph Stockton School. While Stockton was technically the school closed, Courtenay's old building in Ravenswood was shuttered, and the student bodies were consolidated at the former Stockton building, which was renamed Courtenay and considered a welcoming school.
For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: