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Salinas students seen using Taco Bell for internet access

kids working outside taco bell
Olga Guzman

SALINAS, Calif. (KION) A picture circulating on social media of two Salinas City Elementary School District students has again brought attention to the digital divide as schools continue with distance learning

The person who posted the picture said the two young girls were looking for a place with WiFi to do their schoolwork, so they sat outside the Taco Bell.

In a statement, the district said it is aware of concerns about internet access for students and said it provided an internet hotspot to the family. The district said it has also placed more orders for hotspots.

"The digital divide is very real and delays in receiving needed technology are a statewide concern, we are grateful the State is making technology a priority and look forward to receiving these hotspots in our District," said Amy Ish, President of the Board.

Students who need internet access are asked to contact the schools Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. After hours, the district asks that you contact technical support. The phone numbers for the schools are:

  • Boronda DIAS: (831) 753-5615
  • Boronda Meadows: (831) 784-5400
  • El Gabilan: (831) 753-5660
  • Kammann: (831) 753-5665
  • Laurel Wood: (831) 753-5620
  • Lincoln: (831) 753-5625
  • Loma Vista: (831) 753-5670
  • Los Padres: (831) 753-5630
  • Mission Park: (831) 753-5635
  • Monterey Park: (831) 753-5640
  • Natividad: (831) 753-5675
  • Roosevelt: (831) 753-5645
  • Sherwood: (831) 753-5650
  • University Park: (831) 753-5655

Students at the district still in need of a hotspot or chromebook can fill out a survey here.

For technical support, call 831-784-2272 or email between 7:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Avery Johnson

Avery Johnson is the Digital Content Director at KION News Channel 5/46.



  1. Amen. Duh, do administrators realize most people live paycheck to paycheck or worse?
    This dependence on internet is offensive; against the poor, the old, the technically-challenged.
    Everyone from banks to PG&E to stores want to ‘go paperless’. Like they give a DAMN about saving trees. They save postage $’s and payroll to send invoices. And a LOT of people, especially older citizens, are not savvy enough to even use email or internet. And high speed access (try using low speed sometime, useless) is expensive. As in hundreds a month. A choice between food and internet service for a LOT of people. But who cares, as long as tens of thousands of people in powerful positions have more money than 10,000 families could spend in a lifetime. And conservatives (of which I am one) wonder why so many people embrace socialism?? Really?

    1. @Jalbert +100

      I used to think that the poor people above all were the ones that had had the new smart phones. When I arrived here in the states in 2012 nobody in my family here had a smart phone, but when I went to Walmart, you would see entire Hispanic families get out of their vehicles and everyone…and I do mean everyone had damn smartphone. Kind of like with Blacks and Whites on welfare and everyone one of them are driving around in Cadillac Escapade and all I can afford with my 6 digit income is a 20 year old beater because Monterey rent sucks the soul out of the working man.
      But I have also come to realize that every one of them are on those crappy, so called “unlimited data” plans or family plans where 4 people have to share 5 gigs of high speed, then after that you get what I call Dial Up Data because it is so slow. So yes, the folks that cannot afford high speed internet need some help right now….I know they have phones….all of them have the phones, but phones suck for distance learning, you need a good tablet or PC to make that happen and of course there is printing out documents, scanning and sending in schoolwork. Although with distance learning it might require less paperwork than home schooling.

      If a family has to do that to school their kids, then something needs to be done. Even my often biased and slightly red around the neck brain can figure that out. Help the kids.

  2. @Frankie
    Exactly. Smartphonse are useless for learning. A laptop or desktop is necessary, and a good one.
    Not one Uncle Carlos handed down after 5 years of use. And like you say, live apps like Skype and Zoom etc use typically 1MB per second! 5GB is gone in 5,000 seconds…i.e. 1.4 hours! Asking families who cannot put gas in the car and food on the table the same day, to pony up for this learning method, is BS. And ‘hotspots’ are great if you are near one, have transportation to and from, and a solid laptop to take to it. Perhaps Mr. Gates, Mr. Cook, Mr. Buffet and others would be willing to send Dell Laptops to a 10 or 20 million kids and also pay their Verizon, AT&T or other carrier monthly bills. Like I said, conservatives wonder why a huge % of the population would LOVE to have socialism. Getting by day to day is a losing struggle for most of the population. Almost every kid has student loans. or their parents are mortgaged out for college. Probably forever. And dentists and doctors. Not just 21 year olds. As the economist said in the late 1800’s, capitalism only works if people have a tremendous social conscience. And they don’t. They save trees and beaches, and drive by extreme poverty with the windows rolled up and A/C on full blast.

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