HINSDALE - Some extremely inappropriate images and words popped up during several e-learning classes in the Hinsdale high school district this week.
It’s called “Zoom bombing” and it’s been a persistent problem for school districts that have turned to online teaching over the past few months.
“I feel it’s very unfortunate that something like that might happen in our school district,” said Cheryl Voltz, a parent in District 86.
On Tuesday, several e-learning classes at both Hinsdale Central and Hinsdale South high schools were interrupted by an image of a student mooning the camera and using an ugly racial slur.
The district says it has identified the student as an eighth grader attending a school that feeds into the high school district who got the Zoom password from a freshman.
In an email to parents, District 86 says: “We are currently investigating this matter, and have already contacted the child’s family and school, as well as local law enforcement. We are working with our technology department to ensure that there are additional safeguards in place to prevent this from happening again.”
An e-learning expert says it’s happening all over the country.
“Our kids simply aren’t trained to learn online. They don’t know how to interact with their computer. They don’t know what’s appropriate. And a lot of them are not being supervised when they are interacting with these virtual learning opportunities,” said Jessica Downes Huebner of The Pupil Pod.
Hinsdale parents and former students say they are not surprised it happened.
“There’s always going to be kids up to mischief. I don’t know who or what did what but I’m not shocked at this at all,” one woman said.
“I think there needs to be a lot more regulations at the high school level and the college level,” said former student Sarah Weber.
A district spokesperson says part of the problem is they’re not yet able to use all of the Zoom security features, because the recent decision to switch to e-learning means not all students have been authenticated with Zoom.
Police are also investigating social media reports of a second Zoom bombing involving the district, but so far that has not been substantiated.