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Students at Challenger Middle School hack Lee Home Connect classes, causing virtual learning disruptions

Posted at 6:53 PM, Sep 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-02 18:53:16-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. — School is back in session and for those students learning online, hackers are already at work. Lee County Schools say yesterday Principal Dana Berry at Challenger Middle School sent a voicemail to parents after a couple of incidents occurred during Lee Home Connect Classrooms.

“Where students were incredibly disruptive using profanity creating issues and preventing instruction from occurring,” said Principal Dana Berry.

Rob Spicker with Lee County School District says the district and Challenger Middle School acted immediately changing learning platforms from Zoom to Google Meet.

“That school has just decided that because of what happened to them yesterday, that they would switch to a different platform, and see if they couldn’t eliminate that issue, while the district works on ways that are going to continue to increase security on Zoom,” said Rob Spicker, Assistant Director, Media Relations & Public Information for Lee County School District.

Right now the district says they will not be moving the entire district to Google Meet, as it is a backup plan for situations like this. Spicker says the district has guidelines in place to prevent other incidents like this from occurring on Zoom.

“You have to have the invitation, you have to have the password to get into the meeting, you have to use the waiting room. Teachers are going to have those students come into the waiting room and they are going to verify their name against the class roster. When students join into a Zoom, the audio is going to be muted, so that you cannot hear them, but the camera is going to be on so that the teacher can verify it is the student in question I am looking for,” said Spicker.

Spicker says these steps are in place to encourage security and keep the classroom functioning.

“We are also continuing to work with Zoom to add as many layers of security as we can between our platform and their platform to protect our students when they are online,” said Spicker.

At this time Cape Coral Police is involved in this investigation surrounding the incident at Challenger Middle, and Lee County School District is encouraging parents to be involved in your child’s learning during this time.

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