Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

City, USD 501 Renew Pitch Asking Businesses to Provide Students Free WiFi

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

City, USD 501 Renew Pitch Asking Businesses to Provide Students Free WiFi

Article excerpt

Three students at a news conference Thursday encouraged businesses to let Unified School District 501 students use their wireless Internet for free.

They said participation in a program providing that service will increase good will, bring more foot traffic to businesses and give the students a better chance to succeed.

Dashawn Williams, Marquis White and Jacob Inscho spoke to reporters in front of Highland Park High School, which they attend.

Also on hand were officials from the city of Topeka and USD 501, which recently began providing Chromebook laptop computers to its more than 6,700 students in grades 6 through 12. At school, those students use Wi-Fi provided by the district to connect to the Internet.

But Williams, who plays basketball for Highland Park, said students can't access the Internet from home if they don't have Wi- Fi access there.

Inscho said he formerly was in that predicament, and regularly went to a McDonald's restaurant to use its free Wi-Fi.

"I would have to sit at McDonald's for two to three hours a day, and it wasn't fun," he said.

Inscho said he now receives Wi-Fi through a program available for students whose families meet income guidelines.

Mike Hester, general director of secondary education for USD 501, said a few businesses have agreed to offer free Wi-Fi to students, but the district is looking for more.

Such businesses would be "helping our community connect," he said.

USD 501 and the city asked anyone who owns or operates a business within a half-mile radius of any USD 501 secondary school -- and would be willing to allow its students free access to wireless Internet -- to contact Monique Glaude, the city's division director of community engagement, by March 25 at (785) 368-4470 or mglaude@topeka.org.

They also made public a map showing the locations of the schools involved. …

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