Bay Area student 'hijacks' classroom projectors to show racist video, images. Here's what happened

It happened earlier this week at an East Bay middle school. Parents say it wasn't the first time.

Stephanie Sierra Image
Friday, May 26, 2023
Bay Area student 'hijacks' classroom projectors to show racist images
A middle school student in Brentwood reportedly 'hijacked' technology in several classrooms to show racist footage, the school district confirmed.

BRENTWOOD, Calif. (KGO) -- A middle school student reportedly 'hijacked' technology in several classrooms to show racist footage, the Brentwood Union School District confirmed to the I-Team.

It happened earlier this week at Edna Hill Middle School. Parents say it wasn't the first time.

"I would've never thought, 'let me hack the teacher's computer,'" said one parent whose daughter attends the school. "It is things you hear about in the movies, you don't actually think it's going to happen in real life."

According to the district, the student was able to hack into the projectors in the classrooms of three different teachers to display racist images. Parents told the I-Team, some of the students were learning about Jim Crow laws when the incident happened - adding the racist images were followed by an inappropriate video of animals.

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The district says teachers acted immediately and were able to stop the projections from continuing. The school's superintendent Dr. Dana Eaton added the principal immediately contacted the IT department to investigate the incident and prevent it from happening again.

But parents told the I-Team students have reported this happening a handful of other times in recent months, including one recent case where a student allegedly streamed porn in class.

"It's mind blowing," said Eliane Bazouzi, a parent whose sister works at the school. "There's still racism going on, kids are calling each other the N word. Nobody has the right to use that word."

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The district told the I-Team the investigation into the incident is continuing, but it's expected to conclude soon.

In a statement, Dr. Eaton wrote: "Our district is a place where everyone belongs and we want all to feel welcome. We will not tolerate any type of racist or hateful behavior and the consequences will be severe for any student involved."

So, how could have this happened?

Parents told the I-Team students are able to stream content on their cellphones using Chromecast - which allows anyone to cast content from their phone, laptop, computer, etc.

"You just have to be on the same Wi-Fi," said Ahmed Banafa, a tech expert and engineering professor at San Jose State University.

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Stephanie: "What could've the school done to prevent this?"

Ahmed Banafa: "Have some restrictions on who will join the Wi-Fi by defining the devices. For example, if someone wants to join and start casting they have to have a certain pin number and that pin number is only given to certain people. Also you can cancel the universal plug in n play making it impossible for anyone to join the network unless they have permission."

Stephanie: "Sounds like it's a pretty easy fix?"

Ahmed Banafa: "Yes, it's not difficult. It's just fixing the features of casting."

What is difficult for these parents - comprehending why this even happened?

"Bullying happens frequently for no apparent reason," said Bazouzi. "The inappropriate language constantly... kids have no respect for other kids."

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