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Student holding IPhone
Student configures her iPhone to connect to the school's Wi-Fi. Photo by Vadim Lubko.
Students panic over changed Wi-Fi password

The school district IT department changed the Wi-Fi password and students frantically tried to figure out the new one.

Students were in a panic at Foothill High when the password to the school’s Wi-Fi was changed and no one knew it. Everyone turned to the principals and the teachers for help, except none of the principals or teachers knew anything about the password change. Everyone thought for sure that teacher Steve Dommer knew the password due to him having all the computers and Internet access.

“I never knew the password, because whenever I use the Internet on campus I’m either on my computer or on my phone, and I just use the 4G capabilities of my data plan,” said Dommer, who teaches technology classes all day.

The TRUSD IT department was contacted by fhspress.com and was asked about the Wi-Fi password being changed. Rick Childress, a server engineer with the school district who does not work on networking, said that the principal of each school was in charge of the password at his or her site.

This was news to the principal of FHS.

“I am in charge of the Wi-Fi?” said Principal Brian Welborn. “I did not know I was in charge of the Wi-Fi.”

The reason why Welborn did not know this was because his computers are hooked up to the district, so he does not need to use the Wi-Fi connection. His school-issued phone is always connected, so Welborn didn’t have to set it up himself. He figured out that the password was changed when his vice principal, Javier Macias, told him that a special-ed student needed the password to learn on his tablet. Macias had called the IT department and they did not allow Macias to have the new password.

Students all over campus were affected by the password change, which happened sometime over the weekend.

“Yes the new password has affected me,” said 11th grader Chad Eskelson. “I can play games and do my projects on my phone with the Wi-Fi, but we should not be able to use the teacher’s Wi-Fi because it is not ours.”

Until now the students have been using the username of fhsdevice and the password fhs, but that is supposed to be for hardware use only, such as laptop computers. On campus computers, the students are supposed to be using fhsstudent as the username and leave the password blank and it should work. On some phones that doesn’t work.

A student’s username is the student’s ID number and the password is their own password they can customize with help from certain teachers who use computer labs on campus. 

“The student ID and their password is the one they should be using,” Childress said, “because we can monitor what they are doing and see ‘Oh, that is a student at Foothill,’ and we would be able to contact them about that.”

For some students, the new password did not affect them at all. Due to some phone plan companies producing 4G phones, using their phone without Wi-Fi is fine. The students with 4G have a data plan and in most cases they have unlimited data. For those without unlimited data, they would be cautious about how much data they use off the Wi-Fi so they do not have to pay extra or have the data turn off.

Pedro Garcia, a senior at FHS, was not too concerned about the password.

“Students eventually always figure out the new password anyways,” said Garcia.

Not everyone cared about the switch.

“The new password has not affected me,” said 11th grade Daniel Powell. “I don’t use the Wi-Fi.”

A member of the IT department who works in networking did not return messages from fhspress.com as of the posting of this story.



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