Thousands of school children were sent vulgar homophobic messages from a teacher’s email address. (Stock photograph via Elements Envato)
A tidal wave of messages described by school leaders as “lewd, racist, antisemitic and homophobic” were sent to thousands of students after a teacher’s email was hacked.
A math teacher at Niles West High School, in Skokie, Chicago, saw her email account blast a torrent of graphic images to the school’s 4,600 students last Wednesday (11 November).
While school administrators declined to go into the detail of what the abrasive messages contained, students told Chicago CBS that they ranged from swastikas to GIFs of pornography.
“One started coming, and then more came,” said Niles West senior Alli Lipsit. “Each person got a different amount.
“Not at all something that you would see from a Niles West teacher, which is what made it really evident that it was a hack and not just a teacher going off the rails.”
Lipsit added that in the email he was sent, he was “really taken aback by the swastika”.
“When I saw the emails about the Jews, it definitely made it feel a lot more personal.
“I’m Jewish, so it was upsetting to see the antisemitic stuff. It’s hard not to feel targeted when you are part of the minority that those emails were about.”
“A few of them had GIFs of pornographic images that were very disturbing,” another pupil, Henry Gussis, added.
Local leaders denounced the deluge of emails, describing them as containing “patently offensive content”, and stressed that they are cooperating with local law enforcement.
“We have temporarily turned off student access to district email accounts,” a district representative told Journal & Topics.
In a letter mailed to parents following the cyber-attack, Niles West High School leaders wrote: “We recognise how upsetting and traumatising this message was for our school community.
“We are sorry for any harm this incident has caused. Our student services teams will be working directly with our students on Thursday to help them process their reactions.”