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Nine iPads Stolen from Elementary School

by ARLnow.com February 23, 2012 at 11:58 am 5,487 82 Comments

(Updated at 3:25 p.m.) Arlington County Police are investigating the theft of iPads from an elementary school last week.

A total of nine Apple iPads were stolen from Ashlawn Elementary School. School officials sent an email to parents on Friday informing them of the theft.

“We realized the iPads were missing early this morning and took immediate action to try to locate the devices,” the email said. “The police and the central office have been notified and the matter is currently under investigation. Please be assured that Ashlawn has taken multiple measures to keep the technology in our building secure. We are, however, considering additional ways to keep our equipment secure while maintaining the ease of access to staff and students.”

The iPads were stolen between Feb. 15 and 16, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. Each iPad was valued at between $499 and $599. Arlington Police, the school system and an ACPD school resource officer are continuing to investigate the thefts.

iPads are used in Arlington Public Schools for various instructional purposes.

  • DarkHeart

    Should be easy to get those back, presuming they were set up properly.

  • Good Grief

    Do iPads have the ‘locator’ option like iPhones??

    • Ben

      They do – but if they are wifi only it’s not as accurate because they lack the GPS chip.

  • novasteve

    How about use, you know, old fashioned books? It’s not that expensive to replace books, and somehow students managed to learn without ipads for thousands of years, and often were much better prepared than kids are today.

    • s.arl

      Novasteve, how about use, you know old fashioned mailed letters? It’s not that expensive to buy stamps, and somehow people managed to complain without computers for years and often were much more eloquent than people today.

      • Willie Wonka

        Or, instead of commenting on a blog, perhaps go back to using thumbtacks to pin comments written on 3 x 5 cards onto cork bulletin-boards.

      • Just the Facts


    • bringmetheyuppies

      here, here . why in the world do schools have IPADS? How about we save the taxpayers a bost load a money and buy em books?

  • Pat Murphy

    Please note that the iPad air hockey tournament previously scheduled for 2nd block today will not be taking place… Unless we find these things or I somehow find another absurd federal grant and con more money out residents, all future tournaments including the much anticipated iPad accordion contest are indefinitely postponed.

    • KalashniKEV

      Haha…. too true!

    • DSS10

      Wow, really classy!

      I believe that these were used for the autistic students and they have been a great success in allowing teachers to manage and educate their special education classes. Below are two links for a news story by CBS and a video if there are too many big words for you…


      • Donna

        Thank you for your comment.

        I loathe the ignorant comments that pop up sometimes here on ArlNow.

        My child is in fact autistic and he is in a MIPA class that has gotten great use out of the iPads.

        It’s opening up communication between teachers and special needs students that was previous NOT THERE.

        Put that in your pipe and smoke it “Pat Murphy”.

      • Pat Murphy

        Unless Ashlawn has an incidence rate 3x the national average, or each autistic kid uses 3, doubt these were all for that purpose.

        I have no problem with using innovative technology and methods for special education classes… However, i highly doubt a majority of the ipads the county has purchased are being used for that. This county has a real problem of substituting the latest technology and $100 million renovations in place of improving the instructional quality and encouraging students to do better.

        • Donna

          How would nine iPads in a school indicate that each autistic child is using 3?
          Do you even know how many children who are designated as autistic (either my DR DX or through school testing) are in each school? Specifically Ashlawn?

          Why do you “highly doubt” the technology is being used as intended? You really think kids are just playing games? It’s not happening.

          You do not have correct facts, your argument is invalid.

          • Just Guessing

            Recent medical statistics indicate the rate of Austism Spectrum Disorders is one out of every 100 children, or 1%. I don’t know what Ashlawn ES current census is, but 9 iPads were stolen. We don’t know how many iPads remain at the school, but based upon the numbers that we do know, one could estimate that there are at least 900 children at Ashlawn. If the actual census is closer to 300 children, then “pat murphy” could deduce that each child is using 3 iPads.

          • Pat Murphy

            Robble Robble. Fuss Fuss.

            There are not any numbers publicly available that i’ve seen saying the exact number of autistic kids at individual arlington schools.

            so… Incident rate of autism is anywhere from 1 per 80 to 1 per 250 live births… for the sake of argument let’s go with 1 out of 100 children these days are autistic…. Ashlawn has about 350 kids. So you’d expect roughly 3 or 4 students being on the autistic spectrum.

            Sensitive as a Deloris you are…

          • drax

            But kids with autism are not evenly distributed in Arlington schools. They do not all go to their home schools. Some go to special programs at certain schools. Nice statistical analysis, but it’s useless because you ASSUMED too much, again.

        • DSS10

          It’s kind of funny because I’m a bit disappointed that they don’t use more technology. My son went to Arlington Science Focus and they didn’t use the labs as much as they could have. You should know that it is the quality of the school that is the real driver for both the real estate values and the willingness for companies to locate jobs here. I am not saying that I am in favor of wasteful spending and if they did have ipads I hope that they are using them as much as possible. I don’t know, because I do not have a child with Autism in school here but I would not be surprised if they have special needs classes consolidated at a couple schools like Ashlawn and H-B Woodlawn.

          • SomeGuy

            DSS10, here you are saying the following: “I’m a bit disappointed that they don’t use more technology” and “if they did have ipads I hope that they are using them as much as possible.”

            But to do WHAT?! It sounds like you want them to use technology for technology’s sake. And that’s what I see this iPad craze in schools as. Kids can learn to read and write without extra gadgets. When the gadgets augment instruction, great. But when the technology serves as nothing more than a shiny novelty, why would you be “disappointed that they don’t use more technology?”

          • Ballstonienne

            What do you “see” with this iPad craze? Please share your experiences about how they are using them in the schools.

          • SomeGuy

            Judging from the snark in your posts, I must “see” the opposite of what you see.

          • Ballstonienne

            Nothing, then?

          • SomeGuy

            If I humor you and say yes, will you enlighten me with the “everything” that you see?

          • Ballstonienne

            You think the opposite of nothing is everything? That is interesting.

          • SomeGuy

            Feel free to identify what you “see” that makes you so vehemently advocate for iPads in the classroom. Thanks.

        • Zimmy

          For your information, those iPads were purchased by the PTA not the school or the system and yes the iPads are being used as stated. Most of the iPads in the county were either purchased by PTAs or by a state grant that is funding a pilot program. Check your facts before isuing such uninformed statements.

          • bringmetheyuppies

            Why the hell is the PTA buying IPADS? Its really irrelevant who paid for them. The fact is outside of the mentally challenged there is no valid use for IPADS in school. Does someone on the PTA work for Apple? Because all I see is the inference that whoever is using these in schools will need to buy them for home.

        • drax

          Ah, so now you’re assuming that you know that all autistic kids are evenly distributed across the schools, which means you have no idea that there are special programs for autism instruction at certain schools in the county.

          And then you top it off with the assumption that most iPads aren’t being used for special ed – based on “the county has a real problem.” But did you just assume it does?

          Stop digging the hole deeper, “Pat Murphy.”

          • Pat Murphy

            i’d like you to show me anywhere on the Ashlawn site that says they have a disproportionate number of autism students or a special autism program… and don’t simply clump all special ed kids together. Entirely different set of needs. So when there’s no specific data you have to rely on statistics. yes, there are anomalies but… that’s the best we have.

            In terms of most iPads being used for Special Ed students… Impossible to say exactly, but given the media reports, both here and elsewhere, the iPad program started off focusing on 4th grade social studies students and has expanded. From all reports, it appears the vast majority of them are being used in regular classrooms.

          • dss10

            (CBS News) Ten-year-old Nuno Timoteo, an autistic child who does not speak, was thought to have the intelligence and attention span of a two-year-old until teachers put an iPad in his hands and learned he loved opera and classical music. Joshua Hood, 27, also non-verbal and autistic, was thought to understand much of his world, but his lack of speech frustrated him and all around him until he began communicating freely with a touch-screen tablet computer.
            Nuno, Joshua and others whose autism prevents normal speech have made these breakthroughs with the help of tablet computers and special applications that allow them to communicate, some for the first time. Lesley Stahl reports on this new tool for understanding autism for a “60 Minutes” segment to be broadcast on Sunday, Oct. 23 at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

            Ian Stuart, a special education teacher at the Beverley School in Toronto, works with Nuno and participated in a University of Toronto study to determine how effective the tablet computers can be with autistic students. He believes the touch-screen technology is fast becoming a crucial tool. He used a vocabulary app on the iPad to prompt Nuno with images that Stuart soon learned to his surprise the child knew by name: he could point to the soldier, the saxophone and wind chime when prompted by the words for them. Stuart says he “had no idea to the extent of his vocabulary.” But Nuno was even smarter than that. Shown a group of images with an apple and a few sweet treats and asked to point to the healthy snack, the child picked the apple.

            Stuart says not every student takes to the device, but for others like Nuno, it’s almost a miracle. “Not all of them are going to be engaged by it the same way, but the ones who are engaged by it, it’s really…amazing,” he tells Stahl.

            Another Beverley teacher, Sabrina Morey, says teachers sense there is more going on in their autistic students minds than they are able to communicate. “[Tablet computers] are giving us a tool to really prove that there is more happening.”

            There was never a doubt that Hood knew many things, but his non-verbal manner made him dependent on others, who often did not know what he wanted or was thinking. With an iPad in his hands and the right applications, Stahl watches him order food in a restaurant, tell him his feelings toward his brother, or say he’s happy to be featured on “60 Minutes.” Says his mother, Nancy Hood, “The day he started using [the iPad], it blew me away…I wouldn’t have known he preferred Coke to Pepsi. He’s part of the community…communication is the essence of being human and here he is communicating fully now,” she tells Stahl.

            Stahl’s story also features an interview with a University of Pittsburgh neuroscientist who is delving into the mystery of why more than 30 percent of autistic people cannot speak.

          • dss10


            How iPads Are Changing The Classroom

            Now that the iPad does exist, people are finding a lot of practical applications for it. Jamestown Elementary School in Arlington County, Va., has a growing cache of iPads, about 100 for 600 students. The school uses its tablets for everything from writing to math to reading graphic novels. But NPR’s Larry Abramson reports that in one classroom the iPad has been a real game changer.

            Special education assistant Lesley McKeever uses an iPad to get her student, an affectionate autistic boy who can’t speak, to learn to connect words with images by touching the right picture on the screen. Touch technology has been so helpful for students with autism that Arlington County provides enough iPads for every student in the special education classroom.

            Classroom Computers, Another Legacy Of Steve Jobs
            These days it’s the iPad that’s hot, but Apple’s been an educational pioneer from the start.
            According to Apple, more than 2,300 school districts in the U.S. have iPad programs for students or teachers. But the benefits of having iPads in the classroom don’t come free. Teachers say you have to invest time into the technology in order to get something out of it, which means much of the iPad’s usefulness will depend on the applications both teachers and publishers discover as adoption grows.

          • drax

            Ah, so now you’re ASSUMING that because something isn’t on a website, it doesn’t exist!

            You have NO FREAKING IDEA how they are used or by which students. You’re a making up crap as you go along.

            All the energy you’ve used to spew crap here you could have used to make a phone call or two and actually find out. But that wouldn’t be fun.

            But thanks for saying “impossible to say.” That’s progress.

  • John Fontain

    “Please be assured that Ashlawn has taken multiple measures to keep the technology in our building secure.”

    This statement being included in an email explaining that their technology was stolen is a bit ironic.

    • OldTimer

      Why not get those wires they use at the Mac/Apple stores to keep the devices fastened to a table?

      • Sully

        Or wire the kids to their seats so that you can check them for stolen stuff at the end of day before you unlock them and send them home.

    • Homeowner

      So secure (and frequently used) that they didn’t even notice they were stolen for over a week.

      • The email referenced in the article was sent on Friday, Feb. 17.

  • ReverseCommute


  • SomeGuy

    How will the children possibly learn anything in school without these devices??

    • jackson

      You’re not exactly carving that comment on a stone tablet, SomeGuy.

      • SomeGuy

        I said nothing to suggest I thought I was, jackson.

        • Josh S

          I like this new development at ARLnow where we refer to each other by name all the time, SomeGuy. Somehow makes it feel more homey.

          • Louise

            😉 Josh S, that was a funny comment.

          • Josh S

            Thanks, Louise! You’re the best!

          • SomeGuy

            Kind of amusing how Josh S. can comment on my politeness (thanks!) in the same thread that 4 or 5 others (thus far) have shredded my alleged ignorance.

            Thanks, ArlNow!

    • Donna

      Ignorant comment.

      Speaking as the mom of an autistic child who gets great use out of the iPads, I take offense.

      Shame on whomever stole them from the hands of a disabled child.

      • SomeGuy

        Okay, well as a county resident who gets great use out of dollars he does NOT send to the county, I take offense to the extra cost of devices that aren’t properly cared for.

        I also take offense to how you jumped to a conclusion about how these specific iPads are used. Sure, they might be used for autistic kids. But the article says “iPads are used in Arlington Public Schools for various instructional purposes.” So unless you have a reliable source who can verify that these iPads were used exclusively for autistic kids, I encourage you to rethink whose comment is “ignorant.”

        • Rebecca

          Some Guy: 1
          Donne: 0

          Who will win the war the war of assumptions? Stay tuned!!!

        • DSS10

          The only deployed Ipads in the elementary schools have been for the autism program. This is what I was told earlier in the year from one of my kids teachers.

          As to you being able to evaluate how useful your tax dollars are spent, I don’t think that you have a clue. If teachers can better teach profoundly autistic children then they will not have to have as many teachers assistants and maybe even teachers which will reduce both ongoing head count expense and future pension liabilities which are the main financial threats to municipal and state budgets. Like wise, the more a autistic child can be mainstreamed the lower financial cost through out the child’s life time and can allow the child as they grow up to contribute more to society.

          So, little things like this have a big effect but are way beyond your myopic world view. Oh yea, it also helps children and their families, which I doubt you would ever to on your own initiative.

          • SomeGuy

            Whether your kid’s teacher said that or not, it’s not reflected in the article. So Donna’s tactlessness was uncalled for.

          • Donna

            *MY* tactlessness?
            Oh that is rich.

          • DSS10

            Google, Read, and Research before you reply. You should also try to get a basic understanding of profound autism. I don’t think you responses would be the same if we were talking about cancer…

            It’s not too hard…..

            Here is a like to a video which can give you an over view:


          • SomeGuy

            DSS10, you continue to attack my remark from your high horse by painting me as an autistic child basher, but I still haven’t seen a reference to autism in the article, and it was just updated 20 minutes ago. There’s no indication (except what you say your kid’s teacher might think about a subset of iPads purchased) that these specific devices were intended for use by autistic kids.

            I never wrote a negative word about autistic people, so get off the autism thing.

          • drax

            SomeGuy, just stop assuming that they aren’t being used by autistic kids. You don’t know one way or the other. That’s the point.

          • SomeGuy

            Seems like an irrelevant point, drax. My initial post that started Donna’s and DSS10’s and Ballstonienne’s demonization of me was the mere suggestion that Arlington Schools had the wherewithal to educate kids even without these tablet devices.

          • Pat Murphy

            for all your comments attacking people for lack of research…

            here’s some background on the ipads…


        • Ballstonienne

          Hey SomeGuy, I bet you would take great offense if they spent too much money to secure the devices, in your opinion. People like you will complain about anything just to see your words on the internet.

          • SomeGuy

            Yeah. Good one.

          • Good Grief

            Agreed… Most of the people that comment have different opinions, are trying to be funny, or like to kill a few moments during work lulls. SomeGuy takes commenting on ArlNow to an completely different level. Relaaaaaxxxx!!!!!

          • SomeGuy

            I’ll assume you mean a “completely different level” of sound and articulate reasoning. So thank you.

          • Good Grief

            What, were you still commenting?

          • SomeGuy

            Yes. The block of text beneath which you felt compelled to click the “Reply” link was a comment.

        • R. Griffon

          The only assumption here is that they’re used to teach children in our schools. Which isn’t really any assumption at all, since you know … the article comes right out and says it. What difference does it make if the kids have special needs or not?

          Do you hate that they use computers too?

          • SomeGuy


        • jackson

          Every complaint you have made is based on the assumption the county bought the iPads.

      • brendan


        I get that you are hyper-sensitive on this issue… The challenges of raising a child with austim are significant, and i think we would all agree that anything that makes it easier is a good thing.

        I know you want to portray this as heinously as possible… so when anyone else brings up a legitimate point that doesn’t gel with your view, you view it as an attack on your child’s education. I highly doubt anyone here wants to do anything to hurt or limit the education of your child, especially since Arlington as a community has decided to invest a significant amount in providing services and accommodating people with special needs.

        Running around calling people ignorant for not addressing your child’s specific need is not the way to boost support.

        • SomeGuy

          Yep. What he said. Thanks, brendan.

        • Ballstonienne

          Actually, I think SomeGuy’s comment was ignorant, by throwing out a bunch of snark without knowing the role these devices play in the special needs education path.

          But it’s all cool. He probably learned something today.

          • SomeGuy

            I learned that a benign generalized comment (e.g. that kids who I don’t presume to be autistic might be capable of learning from traditional methods) could be fodder to demonize someone whose generalized comment could be misconstrued as neglect of another person’s highly niche use case.

            In other words, if someone wants to be offended by your words, she can find a way.

            And I didn’t really learn it. I was just reminded of it.

  • Homey

    You rang?

  • NPD Blue

    The article does not imply an actual “break in” so could this be internal theft ?

    • DarkHeart

      I heard a rumor that all austic kids are kleptos, and their gang is often seen in the Donaldson Run area.

      • Richard Cranium

        Boating, we assume.

        • brendan

          yachting is the preferred nomenclature, dude…

        • Josh S

          It’s terrible, but I laughed. Out loud.

  • Zimmy

    For your information, those iPads were purchased by the PTA not the school or the system and yes the iPads are being used as stated. Yes some our being used for other instructional purposes, but a good portion are used in MIPA classes

    Most of the iPads in the county were either purchased by PTAs or by a state grant that is funding a pilot program. Check your facts before isuing such uninformed statements.

    • Deptartment of Redundancy Deptartment

      Please post a third time, verbatim. The first two didn’t take.

      • OldTimer

        Oh hell… so it wasn’t me losing my mind thinking I already read that twice before.

  • Hurley

    Sweet mercy has my alma mater turned into a crime ridden place riddled with crime?

  • Nothingeverchanges

    Jamestown elementary uses ipads, and not just for autistic kids.


  • Murfadurf

    If these IPads are not found the terrorists have won.

  • Murfadurf

    The idiot who stole them tried to pawn them in PG county but the store new they were stolen. Need to get the video from the store.


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