MMSD: Student gets into East High Zoom class, flashes BB-gun

Oregon youth director explains children communicate through behavior, and there may be a deeper issue.
Published: Sep. 10, 2020 at 6:29 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The Madison Metropolitan School District is investigating how one of its students managed to gain access to an East High School class being held via Zoom.

Before being removed from the videoconference, the student, who does not attend East, briefly flashed what appeared to be a BB-gun on the screen, a district spokesperson noted.

MMSD’s Liz Merfeld told NBC15 the student was immediately identified and the family contacted. She did not release the student’s name or regular school.

“We are working together with the family to repair harm and to administer disciplinary action in-line with our Behavior Education Plan,” she said.

Merfeld also explained that school and district administrators were informed immediately, noting that the principal of East High School, Brendan Kearney, reached out to students and families who were on the Zoom call to talk to them about the incident and offer support.

“Any time a student has access to any type of weapon we are very concerned, and we take these situations seriously,” Merfeld concluded. “Districtwide, we continue to work to ensure our virtual classrooms are safe and productive spaces.”

“As an educator and as research shows, I believe behavior is a form of communication,” Precious Woodley, Oregon Youth Center Director said.

Woodley also has a child in the MMSD.

She said virtual learning presents new challenges for caregivers who don’t have the job flexibility or accessibility to monitor their kids.

“Everyone doesn’t have that job flexibility within their work schedule so again, how as a community are we able to support one another?” Woodley said.

Woodley said in Oregon they have community internet cafes with designated space for students to do virtual learning with supervision.

“How are we able to make this an equitable process for everyone?” she said.

She said community support is vital to help families adapt to the new normal.

""It takes a village to raise our seasons at the time is anytime the time is now," Woodley said.

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