NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - Nassau County's largest school district says most children at home have not been given laptops or learning devices for the school year, and some are unconnected.
The Hempstead School District blames the state and federal governments, CBS2's Jennifer McLogan reported Monday.
Remote learning is underway for the district's 6,500 students. Yet, fewer than half in Hempstead Village have been provided laptops or devices.
"We came to get our laptops. They never game them to us," said 10th grader Tyshawn Parsons. "We're not learning," he told McLogan.
"It's sad because our children are losing out on precious education that they need right now, and we shouldn't use the pandemic as an excuse for them to keep losing out," said Thern Shivers, a parent.
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Hempstead claims it did not mismanage its funding for devices, and that it was spent wisely.
"We have several devices coming in. Many are on backorder. That's a problem that's going across the nation," said Lamont Johnson, who sits on the Hempstead School Board.
There have been delays, but parents say this situation is more egregious, with no timetable for receiving devices in sight.
"You knew this was going to happen. You should have started [a] long time ago," said Tyanne Carlos, a grandparent.
The district said, "this is yet another opportunity to pick on a district that is grossly underfunded by the state, has not raised property taxes in four years, and elected officials are doing nothing to change the status quo."
"I'm saying, I have to get my laptop first, before anything," said 10th grader Shamar Jackson.
Hempstead is the county's poorest, in terms of taxable income and property values, and is facing a financial crisis.
"My oldest son, who's 17, he's a special needs child. He did not receive a device for remote learning. I'm one of the parents that stood on that line," said Peggy Perkins.
Lines to pick up devices for the children were two hours long. Some went home empty handed.
"It's not about the blame game now. Our children's lives are at stake," said Gwen Jackson, a former Hempstead School Board member.
Many families said they're unable to even connect to the internet.
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