Cumberland County students get free phones, laptops

FAYETTEVILLE, North Carolina (WTVD) -- Cumberland County high school students now have a way to stay connected. The school district held a phone-activation fair, distributing mobile devices to students who need them most.

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The Cumberland County Educational Resource Center was filled with students, their parents, teachers and other faculty members. Lines formed to distribute cell phones and refurbished laptops.

"Now I don't have an excuse for not getting my homework done. I literally don't have an excuse. I have a phone and a computer," said freshman student Chance Lake.

The school district partnered with Sprint to distribute almost 2,000 cell phones to high school students for free. This initiative will span about 30 states. In North Carolina, it will reach about eight school districts and 10,000 students.

"It helps because right now I can't afford Internet and this helps out a whole lot," said Lisa Davis whose daughter attends E.E. Smith High School.

Davis is out of work and said she is barely keeping her head afloat financially. She called this a blessing that will help her child continue down the path of success. Her daughter wants to be a Realtor when she grows up.

"That's always been my dream. I love numbers sometimes," said Winter Davis.

National numbers show 70 percent of high school teachers assign homework to be completed online, yet more than 5 million families with children don't have Internet access at home. It's a story teacher Brian Thompson said he see too often.

"They become hesitant in class, like 'I don't know what's going on.' They are more fearful of the content and teacher. As that builds as an attitude, it kind of diminishes the student and their drive to learn," Thompson said. "That's the last thing we want. We want to avoid that.
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