GILBERT, Ariz. - A Gilbert junior high student is under investigation, accused of hacking into a teacher's email account and then using it to send out inappropriate images to other students.
Students, staff and parents are buzzing over the incident involving that student at the school near Power and Guadalupe roads.
Gilbert Public Schools told 12 News the IT department has now shut down student and teacher accounts.
“Definitely inappropriate," said Isabel Jacobs, who grew up in the Gilbert Unified School District.
"I’m 23 years old and I have no idea how to do that, so the fact that someone in junior high can do that is kind of scary," said Taylor Parr, who is also a former student.
Parr and Jacobs shared their thoughts about the news that a Highland Junior High student hacked into a teacher’s email and sent out those inappropriate images.
“How does a child like that get those kind of images?" Parr asked.
"I’m not as surprised, because I think when we were younger, there wasn’t as much technology," Jacobs said.
Gilbert Public Schools told 12 News the district has strict policies on the student use of technology.
The district equips all computers with content filtering and monitoring solutions, to keep students from accessing inappropriate material.
But now that the images have already been sent out?
“Once they go out, they’re saved, people can save them, I mean screenshotting ... everything," said Parr.
The district also told 12 News, “We recognize filtering and monitoring solutions are fallible. Teachers and staff actively monitor students' computer use. We also provide all students with instruction related to appropriate online behaviors including interacting with other individuals online.”
The following letter -- dated Saturday, May 14 -- from the principal was sent out to parents and students:
Dear HJHS Parents and Students,
I am sorry to report that one of our teachers, Sarita Kulkarni, had her Gilbert Public Schools email account hacked into tonight. There were two very inappropriate messages sent out to her students without her knowledge before district could deactivate her account. If you or your child received one of these email messages, please delete it immediately without opening. We are working on suspending all our student accounts right now to prevent further students from viewing these messages.
Gilbert Public Schools takes situations such as this very seriously. I have reported the crime to the Mesa Police Department and also the FBI since they are the ones who handle all internet fraud. If you have any information regarding this crime, please contact us as quickly as possible so we can report it to the proper authorities.
Again, I am sickened by this horrible act and am working as diligently as possible to take care of the situation. Your continued support is appreciated.
A spokesperson said the district is cooperating with the police investigation. 12 News will bring you new developments when Gilbert police release them.
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