Online security is in question after Zoom incident

May 8, 2020, 7:15 p.m. | By Sophia Lucarelli | 4 years, 1 month ago

Einstein student displayed a gun during an online class session

On Friday, April 3, a 17-year-old Albert Einstein High School student was reportedly holding and playing with a gun during his distance learning session on Zoom. In response to the incident, both MCPS and the police are taking measures to ensure online learning safety. 

This incident marks just one in a series of disruptive events on Zoom. In recent weeks, as institutions have transitioned to video conferencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of Zoom has increased significantly, and with it, “Zoom bombing.” Zoom bombing is a popular trend in which students hack into Zoom lessons and disrupt the class. Other incidents have included the sharing of hateful images, pornography and threats through Zoom. Senior Bernadette Hargrove explained how she feels about these incidents, “I think they were trying to be funny, but obviously the intent of the perpetrator isn't necessarily what matters in a threat,” she stated. 

Einstein student displayed gun during online class session

MCPS has enacted severe punishment for such behavior including suspension, expulsion and even criminal charges. 

The police determined that the Einstein student was not a threat to any school staff or students and will not bring any legal charges against him. During the investigation, the police questioned the student and his parents and found that the gun was purchased legally. No further details were given on the police investigation. Regardless, Albert Einstein will be taking disciplinary actions against the student. “I am deeply disappointed by this behavior,” wrote Albert Einstein High School’s Principal Dr. Christine Handy In an email to Montgomery County families. 

In the aftermath of this incident, both MCPS and Zoom are taking precautions and implementing regulations in order to keep online learning environments safe. “ I do think that schools should be more careful with their zoom lessons and only allow students to turn on their camera and mics when directed by a teacher,” said Hargrove. Moving forward, students have to log into their MCPS account in order to join an online learning session. This means that students cannot join Zooms anonymously like they previously could. Moreover, Zoom meetings require secure login passwords and codes in order for students to join the class. Other, more secure platforms for online learning are being explored as an alternative to Zoom. 

Last updated: May 8, 2020, 7:15 p.m.

Tags: MCPS coronavirus

Sophia Lucarelli. staff writer More »

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