A police log from last week that described some $20K worth of Apple MacBooks, iPads and other technology gear has gone missing from Wellesley Middle School in recent months has the community buzzing and asking about accountability. (The log, posted in the Townsman, detailed that on Aug. 29 members of the WMS IT department discovered 11 MacBooks and 24 iPads had gone missing — sometime between April 11-Aug. 29)
What’s more, the police told us this week that additional items, including 4 Flip video cameras valued at a total of $800 and an Adobe DVD, have also gone missing from WMS (it’s unclear when the cameras disappeared, while the DVD disappeared in late August). The entire situation is still under police investigation, with a recognition that the school was open to many different people while construction took place over the summer.
Questions being raised by the public:
*How could such valuable inventory not be accounted for on a more regular basis? (It’s unclear when most of the gear disappeared, although it’s known that 7 iPad 2 tablet computers disappeared in late August)
*What efforts is WMS making to ensure the gear it still has or gets in the future will be better safeguarded?
*What does this mean for those donating money to outfits such as the WMS PTO or Wellesley Education Foundation whose grants and fundraisers (such as the annual spelling bee) pay for such equipment designed to improve education in town?
While the missing equipment wasn’t funded by the WMS PTO, the organization is distressed about the situation and says it is sure the issue will be a topic of conversation at the next PTO meeting even as the school and police work to avoid a recurrence (“As taxpayers and parents who have a lot of volunteer hours invested in the schools, we want to be sure that all donations are used to benefit and enhance our children’s education.”)
WEF is still trying to get a handle on what happened and has the topic on the agenda for its first board meeting of the new school year on Sept. 28.
School superintendent Bella Wong wrote in response to an inquiry that regular inventory is taken and that this is how the missing items were identified. “The police were notified immediately upon discovery. We are concerned and have taken measures to increase security and continue to work with the police department in their investigation.”
The public part of the Wellesley School Committee meeting starts at 7:30pm Tuesday at Town Hall. While the missing tech items is not listed on the formal agenda, it could be a topic for the citizen speak portion of the meeting.