An AP Chinese class from Newton South High School in Massachusetts is the third victim this month of “Zoombombing.“
Lanlan Chen, who goes by Ms. Chen, was teaching her class of 15 over a Zoom video call on April 15 when the shared screen was flooded with racially charged slurs and coronavirus-fueled hate comments.
In a guest post to Village14, Newton South senior Amy Xiao said, “Despite the school-mandated password protection on the meeting, these individuals subjected the class to a slew of racist insults for over five minutes.”
Samuel Qian, another senior of Newton South and one of the students in the Zoom call, shared with NextShark his thoughts on the incident.
What first started as a stranger with an inappropriate name in the group list and numerous attempts by Qian and the rest of the members in the chat to dismiss the Zoomboomer and ask them to leave, soon led to 30 other individuals storming the room — bypassing the waiting room and password protection.
The PowerPoint presentation was graffitied with derogatory statements, racist language, anti-Chinese depictions, the n-word was spammed, all the while the racists spewed mock-Chinese and curses.
“I felt helpless as my teacher could not figure out how to end the hijacked videoconference,” Qian wrote. “For 5 minutes, I was faced with the most discriminatory slurs I have ever heard in my life—and all at once, too.”
The AP Chinese class consists only of those of Chinese descent, so many of the Newton South community members feel as if this was a targeted attack on Ms. Chen and the students.
7 News Boston reported Principal Joel Stembridge saying, “To be clear, an attack on members of our NSHS Asian-American community is an attack on all of us.”
He stated that initial reports from the ITS department point to the suspects being from outside of Newton, but the investigation continues. For now, they are focusing on increasing security and securing the Zoom classrooms.
Sam Hyun, the Executive Director for the Korean-American Citizens League of New England and Newton South alumnus, reached out to the students and revealed that they are unsatisfied with the school administration’s response, calling it “too reactionary and not pro-active enough.” They want “a concrete plan to address future issues that may occur like this” for the administration to be “quicker to inform the community and to be more transparent about the specificity of the actions they want to take,” and for “MORE action against acts of racism, sexism, antisemitism, bigotry, etc.”
Feature Image via Sarah Chen