|Mount Greylock Superintendent: Virtual Racist Incident Work of Student from Another District|
|By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires.com Sports|
06:03PM / Saturday, January 30, 2021
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Mount Greylock Regional School District on Saturday announced that the racist Zoom-bombing incident in a high school classroom this week was the work of a student from another school district.
Superintendent Jason McCandless made the announcement in a letter to the Mount Greylock community that was posted on the middle-high school's social media accounts.
"On Friday afternoon, the principal of Mount Greylock Regional School, Mr. [Jake] Schutz, was emailed an apology from a student in another school district who is taking responsibility for their own action of impersonating a Mount Greylock student online and playing music with highly offensive lyrics containing a racial epithet," McCandless wrote.
He wrote that "local school authorities will have the opportunity to hold this student to account."
On Saturday evening, McCandless confirmed in an email to iBerkshires.com that the other school district was aware of Mount Greylock's determination, "and in fact brought their suspicions to the Mount Greylock administration."
McCandless thanked the Williamstown Police Department for its work since the Jan. 21 incident
and the Berkshire County District attorney's office for its offer of assistance during the investigation.
The student who admitted to the incident apologized for their actions and asked that the apology be forwarded to the individual Mount Greylock student whose identity was used to trespass in a virtual classroom.
"I now realize how bad, unacceptable, and disgusting my actions were," McCandless' letter quotes the student's apology. "It was never my intention to hurt or make anyone feel targeted.
"I truly apologize to the students, teachers and administrators who were affected by my action. I am especially sorry to the student who felt targeted and hurt by my decision. It was never my intention to make someone feel targeted or hurt."
McCandless indicated that the fact that the incident appears not to have been the work of a Mount Greylock student, the conversation
it has sparked about school climate will continue.
"No matter the 'who' or the 'where' of this incident, the incident has served as a stark reminder that hate, fear, intimidation, and language that disrespects not only an individual but an entire people, and all who stand with our neighbors, are real," McCandless wrote. "We are reminded that neither these beliefs nor actions will be tolerated or overlooked in our community.
"This incident serves as a stark reminder that we must continue to find ways to ensure that every student and every family member have the absolute and inalienable right to feel safe, to feel welcome, to feel they belong, and to feel they are home."
McCandless also addressed a separate concern arising from Saturday's announcement itself: the security of the versatile classrooms that figure to be a major part of public education as the COVID-19 pandemic continues this winter and spring.
"School officials will continue to seek how the student from another district had one of our class links, and the school has instituted further security protocols to keep this from happening again," he wrote.