Free laptop program will start next week

GRESHAM, S.C. --- About 500 elementary and pre-kindergarten students in one of the state's poorest areas will begin receiving free laptop computers next week.

The first laptops will be distributed May 20 to parents of 4- and 5-year-olds in Marion School District 7.

An elementary school in Gresham and an early childhood center in Mullins are pilot sites for the program, called One Laptop per Child South Carolina.

The XO laptops are funded through private donations and designed for children. They have a keyboard meant for children's small hands, are rainproof and won't break if dropped. Officials hope to expand the program statewide.

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-- Edited from wire reports