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Man exposes himself to local students via Zoom

Hedrick Middle School Principal Beth Anderson sent an email to the school’s families Monday afternoon to inform them that an unidentified man had entered a Zoom classroom session earlier in the day using a student’s name and exposed himself.

According to Anderson, the teacher who was leading the class immediately removed the man from the session and the district was able to track the IP address and file a police report. At press time, the district had yet to respond to questions regarding how many students were in on the Zoom call and at which grade level.

“This is absolutely unacceptable and we are appalled this occurred in one of our classrooms,” read Anderson’s short letter. “Unfortunately, there are people taking advantage of virtual meeting platforms nationwide, not just on Zoom, but on other platforms as well.”

Anderson went on to report that the parents and guardians of each student in the class have been notified and counseling services have been offered. She added that the district is working with Zoom — a popular application which the district uses for comprehensive distance learning — on implementing additional security, “which will drastically limit the chances of something like this from happening again.”

The district also will take some initial security steps to “make Zoom more secure,” including: Not allowing students into a Zoom session without their first and last name spelled out; only allowing students into a Zoom session if they are scheduled for that specific class or have an exception to be present in the class; and not allowing students back into class if they drop out of the meeting.

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