KEY POINTS

  • A New York City sixth-grade online class was hijacked with pictures of President Trump and porn
  • City education officials suspect the act was an inside job
  • The US Department of Education also has launched a probe into the security breach

The hijacking of a New York City intermediate school's online class with pornographic materials and photos of President Donald Trump may be an inside job, said Richard Carranza, chancellor of the city's Department of Education.

During New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s daily press briefing, the chancellor said they have yet to find evidence that the porn hack was an external act. “It’s more of somebody internally within that school that decided to not play by the rules,” Carranza said. 

According to a report by NBC News, the sixth-grade class at the William McKinley Intermediate School 259 in Brooklyn was having its first remote orientation when hackers took over the online classroom. 

Devon Morales, the mother of one of the students, posted a photo of the incident on Twitter on Wednesday morning. She said it had only been five minutes since the virtual lesson started when the disturbing materials began flashing on the screen. 

“No teachers should be hosting online classes without remote conference managers or IT monitoring them. Intro to b—job’s should NOT have been part of my daughter’s 6th-grade curriculum,” she posted. “Do better!”

Brooklyn City Councilman Justin Brannan retweeted Morales’ post and called the incident “totally unacceptable and completely avoidable.”

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Education says the agency is now investigating the breach of security of the class in Dyker Heights. Carranza also said that more information might be released later this week. They refused to comment on how they suspect the culprit is an insider. 

Mayor de Blasio said he only learned of the incident after a reporter questioned him about it Thursday morning, as reported by the New York Post.

“I’m sure every parent would be troubled by that, and I’m very sorry that happened,” the mayor said. “I know there’s very powerful protections in place, and I don’t know how something like that could happen to an individual student and that obviously worries me and we have to address that.”

Carranza and de Blasio previously touted the agency’s “state-of-the-art” online security protocols as remote learning became part of the new normal amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The chancellor also added that teachers and principals were given strict guidelines to follow. 

People around the world are turning to technology to stay connected during lockdowns, including connecting with friends and learning online People around the world are turning to technology to stay connected during lockdowns, including connecting with friends and learning online Photo: AFP / YASSER AL-ZAYYAT