NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – A Norfolk mother is pulling her daughter out of Northside Middle School after two serious online breaches involving descriptions of vile sexual behavior.
Prior to this week, Helen Mills was supportive of how Norfolk Public Schools had handled virtual schools. Her 6th grader has special needs and virtual learning was a positive experience that allowed her to work at her own pace.
Then, on Wednesday she heard her daughter read aloud messages in the chat feature of the live Zoom science class.
“She began reading what turned out to be disgusting sexual stuff that she saw in the chat area of the Zoom classroom,” Mills told 10 On Your Side. “I said go ahead and unmute yourself and tell the teacher what is here.”
Mills’ daughter directed the teacher to look at the chat, where it appears the graphic sexual material was posted multiple times and was sent to the teacher and about 20 students.
“And the teacher just said that person has been blocked. I don’t know how to delete it, so go ahead and close it out and just keep on with the session,” Mills said.
10 On Your Side reached out to Norfolk Public Schools to confirm the incident. An official issued a statement saying:
A Northside Middle School class was disrupted yesterday by two unauthorized individuals who entered the class Zoom session. One of the individuals used the chat function to type very inappropriate content to the class without the teacher’s knowledge. In addition, this individual showed sexually inappropriate images from their cell phone when the teacher was unable to see this individual’s screen. As soon as the teacher was aware, the individual was promptly removed from the class. Parents will be receiving communications today from the school alerting them to the incident.
Norfolk Public Schools takes this incident very seriously and is fully investigating the matter, which will be resolved as quickly as possible.
Mills told 10 On Your Side there was another incident Thursday. She says around noon, while she was on the phone with the school’s principal, she heard a voice yell sexually explicit material during an online geography and history class.
The school confirmed this incident and said both involved students.
Barbara Hunter with Norfolk Public Schools said two other incidents have been reported this school year, involving “unauthorized entry of individuals into Zoom classes.” In all the cases, she said teachers quickly responded. She did not specify where these additional incidents happened.
School officials said they will review safety protocols with teachers to ensure these kinds of incidents don’t happen again.
Both Norfolk Police and Child Protective Services were notified, which is standard protocol, Hunter said.
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