EVANSTON, Ill. — Someone hacked an Evanston middle school student’s remote learning account and posted a racial slur.
Nicole Preister’s son, a sixth grade student at Nichols Middle School, was home doing e-learning on Tuesday when he saw the N-word on his Google classroom.
“He was going through unfinished assignments. When he clicked on his PE yoga assignment that’s when he saw that button that says marked as the ‘N-word’ as opposed to ‘mark as done,’” she said.
She said seeing that felt like someone had come to their home and graffitied their home in slurs.
Preister immediately notified the principal at the school as well as the PE teacher and superintendent.
“You’d like to protect your children from everything you want to believe you’re the super hero that can keep your kid away from things that can harm them,” she said. “For him to be right next to me and subjected to such an attack, I felt helpless.”
The details of the incident spread through social media. One parent, Gabrielle Walker said she saw her Facebook post and instantly reached out. She said she couldn’t believe it.
Parents in Evanston are outraged over the incident. So far, it appears to be an isolated incident that affecting just one student.
“Now in the back of my mind I have to think that Google Classroom may not be safe,” Walker said. “There may be predators out there trying to harm him through his classwork? It’s becoming overwhelming now it’s too much. What’s next?”
The Director of Communications for Evanston/Skokie School District 65 issued the following statement:
“This matter is currently under investigation and, pending the outcome, will be addressed accordingly. In District 65, we strive to create an inclusive, welcoming environment (even in virtual spaces) and we will not tolerate the use of racial slurs or derogatory language of any kind.”
“It was a whirlwind of emotions I didn’t know to be sad angry when I asked my son how he felt about it he said he felt like he wanted to cry,” Preister said.
At this point, parents aren’t sure if the hacker is another student or an outsider, but want the district to get to the bottom of it.