Here’s an item I missed from the weekend. Although school was already done the year, it appears zoombombing wasn’t. This time, the incident involved “racial and antisemetic statements” by “unknown attendees”.
Last Friday night, the Superintendent of Northborough and Southborough Public Schools emailed parents about the incident. It took place during a virtual meeting for Algonquin freshman athletes on the morning of Juneteenth. Northborough Police are investigating.
In April, a zoombombing incident exposed students to an “inappropriate” image. At that time, the school reminded teachers and staff about the need to follow protocols for only approving known attendees in the virtual waiting room to enter the session.
It seems that the protocols teachers had been following wasn’t setup for Algonquin coaches, who had apparently been using personal video accounts. That has now changed:
Dear Parent(s) and Guardian(s):
I want to share with you an unacceptable event that happened during a virtual meeting, last evening, Thursday, June 18, 2020. An Algonquin Regional High School coach was holding a virtual informational meeting for incoming freshmen athletes. At the start of the meeting, four unknown attendees joined and made racial and antisemitic statements. These unknown attendees were exited from the meeting swiftly; however, the student attendees were exposed to their unacceptable statements. Since the meeting invite was re-shared via social media, anyone with the link could join the meeting.
As soon as I learned about this incident (Friday morning, June 19, 2020), I reached out to Northborough Police Chief, William Lyver, and the Northborough Police Department is conducting an investigation.
Most importantly, we have reached out to each of the student attendees and their families and are providing them with supports and resources.
As an immediate action, I’ve instructed Mike Mocerino, ARHS Athletic Director, to suspend all athletic virtual meetings that are being conducted via personal video conferencing accounts. The District will be providing District-issued Zoom accounts to all coaches, which include District required security settings, and training prior to their use.
As always, the safety and wellbeing of our students is the District’s greatest priority. There is no place in our communities nor in this world for hatred and racism. We will continue to work and learn together so that members of our school community develop the tools, skills, and knowledge to challenge racism, prejudice, hatred, and intolerance.
Gregory L. Martineau
Superintendent of Schools