Hacked websites, hate speech hit suburban Chicago schools
Posted November 13, 2020 5:02 p.m. EST
Updated November 13, 2020 5:03 p.m. EST
SKOKIE, Ill. — Students at two suburban Chicago school districts were exposed to hate speech and lewd material this week after hackers apparently infiltrated both districts' websites, school officials said.
Police were investigating Wednesday's incidents that targeted the Maine Township High School District 207 and Niles Township High School District 219 — both of which have ethnically and racially diverse student populations, the Pioneer Press suburban newspaper group reported.
District 219, which has two schools in Skokie, said in a statement to parents that emails were sent through a district email account Wednesday night to all district students containing “lewd, racist, anti-Semitic and patently offensive content."
The district said its information technology team is working with the Skokie Police Department to investigate the incident, which prompted school officials to cancel Thursday's first-period remote learning classes and temporarily suspend student access to district email accounts.
“As a district we condemn these actions and messages,” the district said in its statement.
District 207, which has two schools in Park Ridge and one in Des Plaines, told parents in its statement that “hate speech, images of hate and other inappropriate images” were posted to each of its three school websites and district homepage by an unknown hacker Wednesday night.
Park Ridge Police Department Executive Officer Tom Gadomski confirmed that the department is investigating the incident but declined further comment.
“We are dedicated to investigating this matter and if they are discovered, to prosecute the perpetrators to the fullest extent of the law," District 207 said in its statement.