Organisers 'absolutely devastated' as Doncaster school's online lesson hacked by naked men

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The organisers of a Doncaster's school’s online lesson which was hacked by naked men committing lewd sex acts say they are ‘absolutely devastated’ by the incident.

Pupils at Mexborough’s Laurel Academy were expecting to see an online Zoom chat with an author – but were instead met with a live video feed of a group of naked men exposing themselves and carrying out sex acts.

Now the providers of the external lesson say they are working with police, as well as staff and children affected, while the school has said it will toughen up procedures to prevent a repeat of the incident – which happened on World Safer Internet Day.

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A spokesman for Reading Rampage, which set up the event for a number of Doncaster schools said: “The session was part of a well-established programme providing an opportunity for children to meet authors whose books they have been studying.

Mexborough's Laurel Academy.Mexborough's Laurel Academy.
Mexborough's Laurel Academy.

“Reading Rampage is being delivered with six Doncaster schools as part of a local school improvement initiative.

“The session arrangements and security of the platform were consistent with eleven successful recent sessions with more than 30 schools.

“In a rapidly unfolding sequence of events, the author’s presentation was sabotaged and our meeting controls over-ridden. We aborted the session as quickly as we could.

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“We and the author are absolutely devastated that some of the children experienced this inappropriate incident, during what should have been a positive and inspiring event.

“We are co-operating with the police and relevant organisations to investigate the incident and support the children and staff affected.”

Meanwhile, a spokesman from Delta Academies Trust, which runs Laurel Academy, said: “We were invited, along with a number of other schools, to take part in this externally-organised, regional initiative. A small number of our students participated.

“We understand that the event was hacked, which allowed unauthorised access to it.

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“We reported this to the Police and have asked the regional organisers to provide assurances that all its providers meet security requirements.

“We have spoken to the parents concerned, offered support to any students affected, and have taken measures to prevent it happening again.”

South Yorkshire Police has confirmed it is investigating the incident.