Norfolk Schools: 2 Incidents Of Sexual Images Shown During Online Classes

By Jason Hall

September 24, 2020

Norfolk Public Schools has reportedly confirmed multiple incidents in which sexual images were shown during virtual classes.

The district confirmed a recent incident in which a Northside Middle School class was disrupted by two unauthorized individuals to WAVY.com on Thursday.

"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."

A Norfolk parent told WAVY that she pulled her daughter from Northside Middle School after two serious online breaches involving inappropriate sexual behavior. Helen Mills, who said she had previously supported the district's approach to virtual learning, told WAVY she heard her daughter, a sixth grader with special needs, reading 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 WAVY. “I said go ahead and unmute yourself and tell the teacher what is here.”

Mills' daughter notified the teacher of the chat, where it appeared to include extremely graphic sexual material was posted several times and sent to about 20 students and the teacher.

Mills also told WAVY there was another incident on Thursday at around noon in which, 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 also confirmed this incident and said both involved students, WAVY reports.

Barbara Hunter, a representative with Norfolk Public Schools, also confirmed two previous incidents occurred earlier in the school year, which involved "unauthorized entry of individuals into zoom classes," WAVY reports. Hunter said, in each of the incidents, teachers responded quickly, but did not specify when the previous incidents took place.

Norfolk Schools officials told WAVY they plan to review safety protocols with teachers to prevent incidents from occurring again. Hunter confirmed both Norfolk Police and Child Protective Services were notified about the recent incidents, which is standard protocol.

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