LA GRANDE — La Grande High School students enrolled in an online language arts class received a jolt.

The students on Friday, Sept. 18, heard between two and three young people who were not students in the class but had sneaked onto the livestream and spoke using vulgar language in the virtual setting. The students also posted a vulgar display of language.

The individuals, who were not visible to the class but sounded young, were immediately blocked from the live class, said La Grande School District Superintendent George Mendoza.

He said the district notified the Union County Sheriff’s Office of the incident and will consider pressing charges if the individuals responsible are identified.

Mendoza said the district also sent letters to parents of all the students in the language arts class explaining what happened and apologizing.

The culprits used a link to enter the class. Mendoza said the course’s teacher mistakenly let the youths in, not realizing they were not students taking the class.

Mendoza said it’s possible a student in the class provided an access code to the livestream to the individuals responsible for the disruption.

The class is part of the La Grande School District’s Comprehensive Distance Learning program. All La Grande students are taking classes online because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The class is taught via the Google Meets platform.

The superintendent said the district is conducting computer forensic work to help solve this case.

“We are investigating where this originated from,” he said.

The superintendent also said he is upset with what happened.

“This is not good. I am not happy,” he said. “I am deeply sorry that this took place.”

Mendoza said the district is taking steps to tighten security and accountability to prevent similar disruptions. One such step will involve requiring teachers to admit students to their classes one at a time.

General assignment reporter

Beats include the communities of North Powder, Imbler, Island City and Union, education, Union County veterans programs and local history. Dick joined The Observer in 1983, first working as a sports and outdoors reporter.

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