Parents say their child’s virtual class was disrupted by pornographic image

ByBlair Caldwell|August 27, 2020 at 6:04 PM EDT - Updated August 27 at 8:30 PM

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Just a day after Savannah-Chatham County Public School System announced they would continue virtual learning until further notice, some parents are raising concerns about the security of online learning.

This comes after they say their students class was violated with pornographic material and explicit language.

Parents say they expected when their students logged into virtual learning that they would be safe, but that’s not the case for some after alarming zoom meetings this week.

“A pornography video was playing. She said it was about 10 to 20 seconds worth.”

“All the sudden I heard like moaning sounds and they sounded in like a sexual nature.”

Two families at two separate Savannah-Chatham schools are frustrated after learning someone not in their child’s class got access to their zoom meeting and exposed their children to graphic content.

“I really just was in shock, like I didn’t really know that something like this could happen,” said a Marshpoint Elementary Mom.

“Even if I had been sitting right over her shoulder there wouldn’t have been anything I could have done to prevent this from happening. So we’re really sort of, I don’t want to say powerless, but sort of powerless in that we’re relying on the school system to protect the kids and you know there just obviously hasn’t been enough done,” said Amanda Pickell, Coastal Middle School Parent.

The district’s Chief Data and Accountability Officer says they do require teachers to have safeguards in place for Zoom meetings and from what he’s seen of the reported instances they happen because of improper settings and a lack of teacher comfort in the online platform.

“We’ve gone from a classroom environment to fully online and we are all adapting as quickly as we can and it is unfortunate that sometimes inappropriate behavior does occur and we’re taking action to mitigate it,” said David Feliciano, Chief Data and Accountability Officer.

Leaders say they are aware of these incidents and they are reported to campus police for investigation, but cannot comment on pending investigations. Parents say they have reached out to the district, but gotten little to no response.

“We deserve to know what the school is going to put in place in order for us to feel comfortable,” said a Marshpoint Elementary Mom.

Feliciano say’s that’s what they are doing now. Though their protocol requires passwords, the use of a wait room and more for security, teachers have control of the Zoom sessions. Ultimately the district is working to make sure teachers know what to do and how with a mandatory training video.

“If they are using zoom it’s mandated they have to review the video, they will be given a quiz at the end to make sure they understand and that using these instructional tools it is the requirement to understand security settings and how to best set up the safe and secure environment. On top of that we are going to require they do practice drills,” said Feliciano.

District leaders say the video will be ready by next week, but parents with concerns can always opt to use their paper packets for comfort.

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Photo: WTOC

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