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Hackers take over online classrooms in the Valley

Online distance learning, school, education
Posted at 10:42 PM, Aug 18, 2020

Starting high school online wasn't what Scott Peck had in mind. The newly minted freshman just started his online courses for Mountain View High School on Aug. 4, but he's already found himself dealing with more obstacles than he expected.

"There’s nothing we can do to stop it," said Peck. "I may just have to turn down the volume and accept it.“

Peck says someone used a racial slur, forcing his teacher to shut down the virtual course for a few minutes. Once back up and running, the same person continued to interrupt students as Peck says some were trying to present to the class.

"He said 'shut the f*** up,no one cares about what you’re saying'," added Peck. "He was just messing up the entire class, really."

“I knew online schooling was going to be a rough, rocky road in the beginning," said Candi Peck, Scott's mother. "I had no idea that it would get to this extent."

A similar situation happening in the Paradise Valley Unified School District, according to Crystal Weyers.

Weyers' 14-year-old son, a freshman at Horizon High School, captured a disturbing statement on video, made by an anonymous caller on his school’s "Google Meet" classroom.

"What that guy said was very evil and our kids should be protected from that. They shouldn’t have to hear that especially when they’re in school.”

Both parents support a return to in-person learning, highlighting the dangers and obstacles in online learning.

"It’s not just 'Zoom-bombers' and random people," added Weyers. "It’s also, a lot of times, students that are cussing and yelling at other students and yelling at their teachers. It’s a bit out of control in my opinion so something definitely needs to be done."

Mesa Public Schools sent an email to parents Tuesday evening, saying, in part:

Today, one or more individuals who are not on the class rosters intruded in several WebEx class meetings and shared inappropriate content and images. Mesa Police is investigating.

Please remind your child that it is unsafe to share WebEx meeting links or passwords with others. By working together, we can keep students safe. Any student(s) found to be responsible for today’s incidents will receive appropriate consequences.

We are working with our district technology team to immediately implement training for staff on new WebEx security protocols and safeguards.