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Should Chesterfield hand out laptops to students?

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) – Chesterfield County Public Schools is considering following suit behind Henrico schools and giving students laptops.

Chesterfield school leaders say the plan would phase in more than 13,000 chromebooks over a two-year period, costing over $2 million. The first students to use the new laptops would be middle schoolers in the 2014-2015 school year.

The following year, school leaders want to spend another $5.5 million to phase in almost 19,000 more laptops for high schoolers.

Some parents say the benefits for students would certainly outweigh the costs.

“Both my kids said it would help just to do everything online,” Kendall Wallace, a James River High parent said. “That’s the way things are going these days. They do all their research online. It would be great.”

Others are considering students who are without internet at home and how that would limit the full use of their computer.

“I think that the teachers need to remember that every student has a unique situation,” Tiffany Ferreira, another Chesterfield parent said.

Chesterfield school leaders say they are considering this issue in their planning as well, saying they are hoping to work with community faith-based organizations and local libraries to provide wireless internet access after school. Officials also said that they plan on helping families link up with companies with low-cost internet access so that more students can use the tool to its full capacity.