I was stunned by the April 30 article about Sophos filtering software being configured for laptops at home (“Taking byte out of laptop use at home”). I’m amazed that the Portland school district is not only setting an embarrassing precedent, but taking a huge step backward regarding how best to support young people in their educational paths. I’m even angrier having read the editorial praising the policy (“Portland parents helped by school laptop limits,” May 1).

I know many Portland students whose only access to the Internet is through their school-issued laptops. One young woman immediately comes to mind. She’s a recent immigrant and acts as the primary homemaker for her family — as a high school junior.

She navigates the Department of Health and Human Services, pays the bills, shops for groceries and helps her siblings with their homework. Regularly, she uses YouTube, Facebook, MIT Opencourseware, Purplemath and blogs to help her help herself and her siblings.

I know young artists who post their work on YouTube, Facebook and Vimeo, and promote events via Facebook. Blunt Youth Radio members promote their shows via social media. I know kids who watch movies and TV shows not only for entertainment, but also to improve their language skills.

Worst of all, this policy illustrates how out of touch the school district is with the constantly changing media landscape, and with the kids in our schools. Apparently, the Press Herald is equally out of touch — a sentence like “If Portland parents want to buy a computer and give their children free and unlimited access to the Internet, they can do so” illustrates my point beautifully.

My son attends Casco Bay High School, where more than 45 percent of students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. The assumption that those parents have the means to provide a computer for their kids is unrealistic and deeply unkind.

Mark High of Portland is a parent of a Casco Bay High School student.