PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Parents in two local school districts are demanding answers after online classes were infiltrated with inappropriate content.
The Trinity Area School District and Pittsburgh Public Schools both dealt with separate incidents Wednesday. Kodi Cimino’s son is in fifth grade at Trinity West Elementary.
Cimino said she was with her son during an online class when they began hearing racial slurs.
“It just kept repeating and repeating and repeating and I’m like oh, my gosh, you’ve got to be kidding me,” Cimino said.
Cimino says the teacher frantically tried to end the Zoom call but pornographic images soon emerged onto the screen.
Amanda Kleges’ daughter was also in the virtual class. She said her daughter received counseling from the school over the phone, but the incident was still shocking.
“We’ve already had our discussion, and it pushed us to do it,” said Kleges. “We weren’t ready. I felt that right was taken away from my daughter.”
In a letter to parents obtained by KDKA, the Trinity Area School District said they are postponing live online instruction until the issue is resolved.
They say along with the incident in the fifth-grade cyber classroom, there were security breaches in two virtual high school classrooms.
Trinity wasn’t the only victim.
Pittsburgh Public Schools said Wednesday that some of its students were exposed to “inappropriate content” during an online class. The district says a teacher posted a link to a nursery rhyme video on Safe YouTube, but the link led to an “inappropriate video.”
Brenda Duckett was helping her 2-year-old granddaughter, a Pittsburgh Minadeo Pre-K student, with her online learning when it happened.
“I grabbed it from her and I looked at it and I’m like wait a minute,” she said. “I looked at it and I said ‘Oh, my God.’”
The girl’s mother, Jamisha Pack, said the video was incredibly upsetting and concerning.
“I felt like coming from her district, her school, nothing like this could happen. But obviously I was wrong,” she said.
In a statement, Superintendent Dr. Anthony Hamlet called the issue “unacceptable” and said the district is indefinitely blocking Safe YouTube.