Washington Superintendent Interrupted by ‘Zoom-bombers’ Playing Looped Recording of Racial Slurs During Online Board Meeting

(Tiffany Hagler-Geard/Bloomberg News)

The Black superintendent of a Washington state school district was speaking to a mix of in-person and online board meeting attendees last month when he was suddenly interrupted. Someone with an image of George Floyd in their frame unmuted their microphone and played a looped recording of racial slurs — an act known as “Zoom-bombing.”

The person running the Zoom meeting quickly kicked the person out, the school district said, only for an elderly White man to then take over the screen and play the same racist track.

Police in Enumclaw, Wash., a town about 40 miles southeast of Seattle, announced on Wednesday they are investigating the Nov. 22 acts as hate crimes.

“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,” Cmdr. Mike Graddon said in a statement.

The Enumclaw School Board also released a statement condemning what it called “acts of hate,” noting the incidents “will not be tolerated.”

“Let it be clear, hate has no home here,” the statement said.

The racist disruption in Washington is the latest discriminatory incident targeting educators and school board members. Over the past year, tensions at public school board meetings have sometimes turned violent over hot-button issues like mask mandates and critical race theory, an intellectual movement that examines the way policies and laws perpetuate systemic racism. Threats have become so prolific that Attorney General Merrick Garland ordered the FBI in October to address the “disturbing spike.”

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SOURCE: The Washington Post, Jaclyn Peiser