By Rob Way | September 22, 2020 at 2:18 PM EDT - Updated September 22 at 8:44 PM
WALTERBORO, S.C. (WCSC) - A Colleton County mother is pushing for better security measures after her son’s virtual class was hacked by another student Monday.
The seventh grade class at Colleton County Middle School was meeting over Google Meet, an online video conferencing website, when Melanie Wade’s son said a shirtless hacker logged on.
“A hacker came into his class and played extremely vulgar and explicit music or a song he was singing that explained acts that seventh graders don’t need to hear," Wade said. “My son got the impression that he was going to demonstrate one of the acts before the screen flashed yellow, and he was kicked from the class.”
The student, who is now facing disciplinary action, used a code to access the class even though he wasn’t assigned to it, district spokesperson Sean Gruber said.
“This intrusion was dealt with in a matter of minutes, and the student was removed from the virtual classroom environment immediately,” Gruber said. “At no time did anyone outside the school district hack into one of the virtual classrooms.”
Google Meet is set to get an update that prevents “quick access" to the county’s classrooms, Gruber said. This will make all those logging into the classroom get approval from the teacher before being allowed in.
“While no defensive measures can completely secure an online environment, this new update will prevent classroom intrusions like the event yesterday from occurring again,” Gruber said.
The county’s schools are operating in both a hybrid and all-virtual mode, and Wade said if her son was in person this wouldn’t have happened.
“I was so hurt and angry by it," Wade said. “I think they should give parents the option to go to school full time if that’s what they want. I think they should also consult with more security measures if they choose to keep the virtual and blended.”
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