A Park Slope elementary school that has had more than 50 Apple laptops stolen in the past two months may not receive replacement computers. The still new MacBooks, which were stolen from PS 107 on Eighth Avenue on two occasions over the past two months, made up the majority of school’s computer supply.
But the city refused to say if the laptops are insured or if it will cough up the dough for replacements by September.
“It’s absolutely appalling that the city may not reimburse a school that was robbed,” said Kate Porterfield, a parent of two PS 107 students and one future student. “This would end up punishing hundreds of kids who love the computer program.” Others were concerned that the failure of the Department of Education to bring in new computers would deprive students of instruction in an increasingly basic area.
“It would be like going backwards if the laptops aren’t replaced,” said Daniel Paterna, a father of two in the school. Students in the K-5 school learned typing, computer basics and even some programming on the state-of-the-art laptops. But with most of the school’s computers now in the hands of thieves, Principal Cynthia Holton may have to scramble to keep the kids out of the Stone Age. “I don’t know what will happen,” Holton said. “We would have to put our heads together come up with some other solution to keep the technology classes.” And it’s not just the aftermath of the laptop thefts that have parents in a rage — it’s the fact that they occurred in the first place. Both burglaries occurred when a security guard from Komi Construction, a contractor doing restoration work on the 100-year-old building between 13th and 14th streets, was on-duty. Some parents suspect that company employees are responsible for the burglaries, but they are also blaming the Department of Education for not securing the building. “The school should be safer because the Department of Education has a responsibility to protect its property,” Porterfield asserted.
Komi Construction did not return repeated calls for comment about the rash of thefts, and a Department of Education spokeswoman declined a chance to clarify the city’s position, saying that she did not want to jeopardize the NYPD’s investigation.