zoom bombing racist NSHS

Zoom Session for NSHS AP Chinese Class Crashed by Anti-Asian Racists

Dear Newton North Community,

Yesterday a group of intruders joined a Zoom session during a Newton South AP Chinese class and proceeded to spew vile, hate-filled images and speech directed at our students and teacher. The actions were racist and hate-filled. This incident is an attack on our Asian community, Newton South and Newton Public Schools. I’m am saddened and angered by this attack that was intended to divide and scare us.

I will be hosting an optional Zoom webinar at 2:30 this afternoon for staff and students. The purpose of this meeting is to provide support for our Asian community at Newton North, to answer any questions and discuss ways we can support and address hate. This will be an attempt to unite our community when others seek to divide us.

Mrs. Winston will share a Zoom link later this afternoon with students and staff who wish to attend the optional meeting.

Please read Joel Stembridge’s email below.

Be well,

Henry J. Turner, Ed.D

Principal

Newton North High School

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Dear Newton South community,

I am saddened and upset to share with you that yesterday a group of intruders joined a Zoom session of our AP Chinese class and proceeded to spew vile, hate-filled images and speech directed at our students and teacher. It was clearly racist, hateful, and horrible.

We immediately notified the Newton Police Department who are investigating the incident. We also notified families of students in the class, and are working with our teacher and students to gather more information. Initial reports indicate that the intruders were likely not from Newton, although that could change as we learn more.

This was a traumatic experience for our teacher and students, and we will continue to offer support to everyone involved. To be clear, an attack on members of our NSHS Asian-American community is an attack on all of us. We will be working on a plan for responding – I will share more about this soon.

We have hosted hundreds of successful zoom meets over the past weeks and have updated our security settings as new information has become available from Zoom on specific ways to secure our live classroom interactions. However, we have learned that Zoom links created prior to recent security updates may not have all the security features turned on, such as the waiting room and password features. Our Information Technology department is constantly working to increase security and to stay up-to-date on all recommendations to secure our virtual classrooms.

Out of concern for student and staff safety, I am cancelling all zoom meetings for today so that our IT department can work with faculty and staff to review our security protocols, re-verify settings, and refresh all zoom links.

This is a trying time for all of us, and events such as these underscore the fragility of this new environment in which we are working. We’ll have more work to do to ensure that we can continue to support students and build a safe, connected online community.

As always, thank you for your partnership.

Warmly,

Joel Stembridge

Principal, Newton South High School

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