Washington Board Meeting Disrupted by ‘Zoom-bombing’ With Racist Images

In Summary

Nearly two years into the COVID-19 pandemic and ‘Zoom-bombers’ are still at it, hijacking a Washington school board meeting with racist images of George Floyd and racial epithets. 

In a practice known as “Zoom-bombing,” an anonymous person or group hijacked a school board meeting on Nov. 22 to display photographs of George Floyd and repeat a racial slur, prompting the Enumclaw Police Department to launch a hate crime investigation, per The Hill

The Washington Post reported Dr. Shaun Carey, the Black superintendent of Enumclaw School District, was speaking to a mix of in-person and online board meeting attendees when the meeting was interrupted.

RELATED: Hackers’ new target during pandemic: video conference calls 

As a result of the COVID-19 crisis, many Americans began using video conferencing platforms to stay connected during remote work and classes, leading to an overwhelming increase nationwide in claims of “Zoom-bombing,” per the Federal Bureau of Investigation. They’ve received multiple reports of conferences being disrupted with pornographic and hate images, as well as threatening rhetoric. 

In a press release, Enumclaw Police Commander Mike Graddon said, “This is a deeply disturbing, disruptive, and intolerable act the Enumclaw Police Department is taking extremely seriously and will work hard to identify the people responsible.” 

Graddon added that police will have to utilize a number of search warrants to obtain the unique IP addresses of those responsible. 

Carey condemned the hijackers’ actions in a statement, saying what they did was unacceptable and will not be tolerated. He noted that the spontaneous hate speech left attendees “shocked and appalled.” 

“Sadly, I had an experience this week that although wasn’t completely foreign to me in my many years of life, left me unsettled and disheartened,” he said, adding “the words and images used were aimed at degrading people of color.” 

Carey continued, “While we continue to navigate through tough situations and topics, by and large our work toward a common end has been civil and focused on the most important thing, the students of this community. We are not unlike most communities that are working hard to make certain that every person feels safe, respected, and valued. This isn’t always easy to do, but it is always the right thing to do.” 

RELATED: No Black Voices Present at Critical Race Theory Hearing in Missouri 

The incident in Washington is the latest discriminatory act aimed at educators and school board members, who have faced rising tensions over the past year because of issues including COVID-19 mask mandates and critical race theory, per The Washington Post.

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