5 central NC school systems dealing with hackers, unwelcomed guests in virtual classrooms

COVID-19 and schools

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Five central North Carolina school districts have had virtual classes disrupted. In some cases, students and teachers have been on the receiving end of verbal abuse. In others, pornography has been shown.

“Somebody hacked in and made themselves the presenter,” Victoria Harris said.

Harris described an incident involving her son’s virtual class. He’s a 12th grader at South Garner High School.

“He or she had shown pornographic videos,” she said.

Harris has four kids, all in Wake County Schools. She’s been trying to help all of them at the same time.

“At first it was kind of just, ‘Haha, that’s kind of funny.’ And then it kind of was like, ‘Oh, what if that was my fourth-grader or my first-grader?'” she said.

Also on Wednesday, Harris said someone disrupted her ninth-grader’s class and showed a porn site.

She said the teacher acted quickly to kick the person off.

Cumberland, Johnston, Lee and Durham County Schools all confirmed they’ve had similar incidents.

“A person came in pretending to be part of the class… and started making loud noises and yelling and being disruptive,” Chip Sudderth said.

Sudderth is the Chief Communications Officer for Durham Public Schools. He told CBS 17 about what happened to his wife earlier in the day. She’s a teacher at Jordan High School.

“She muted the class and took some time to restore order,” he said.

Sudderth urged parents and students to have patience during this adjustment period.

Wake County Schools is sending out best security practices to teachers. It urges them not to make meetings public, not to share a link on social media, and to not to allow attendees or panelists to enter before the host and to eject attendees if there are problems.

A spokesperson with Cumberland County Schools provided this statement:

We take the security of our students and staff and our live learning sessions very seriously, and we will hold individuals accountable for any unwanted intrusions. Security protocols are in place and will continue to be reviewed and updated as needed. We continue to have high expectations for staff and students in this remote learning environment.”

All five districts said they’re investigating the incidents and will hold those behind them accountable.

More headlines from CBS17.com:

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