People who appeared to be hackers disrupted an online Zoom meeting of the Whitewater School Board on Wednesday night, causing school officials to end the meeting after about 15 minutes.
School board President Casey Judd described the behavior of those who forced their way into the online meeting as “very juvenile.” It happened while District Administrator Caroline Pate-Hefty was beginning a presentation about “fall instructional plans” for the upcoming school year.
Judd said the hackers were able to take over the meeting and draw on the presentation screen.
“There was some swastikas and some profanity,” he said. “It was very juvenile. We ended the meeting very quickly.”
He said it appeared the hackers had no agenda.
“It seemed to be a very juvenile attempt at disrupting a meeting,” Judd said.
Pate-Hefty later Wednesday evening emailed a letter to school district residents.
“This evening’s scheduled Whitewater School District Board Meeting was taken over by individuals making racist, sexist, and harassing comments,” she wrote. “The meeting ended in order to protect our staff members, who were being directly harassed.”
Judd said the school board might try a different version of Zoom at its Monday night meeting.
“Our technology people say there’s a different Zoom product that gives you more control and makes it more difficult to pull that off,” Judd said.
The FBI in March warned that as more people and organizations turn to video-teleconferencing in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, reports of “Zoom-bombing” were emerging nationwide. The FBI received multiple reports of conferences being disrupted by pornographic or hate images and threatening language.