It’s a harsh lesson to learn, but internal chat messages like Slack are really not your friend. In fact, they can be your worst enemy. Teachers at the Blackstone Valley Prep High School in Rhode Island learned that lesson in the most embarrassing way possible.
Earlier this week an unknown hacker used a teacher’s email account to access the internal Slack chats of the high school’s staff and emailed a Google Doc with the transcripts to students, parents, and other teachers. Unfortunately, some of the teachers’ chats were the digital equivalent of schoolyard bullying, as the Journal writes:
In a message time stamped June 14 10:13 a.m. on one screenshot...the teacher writes: “Here’s how Hudson spelled Ta-Nehisi Coates: Tonahese quotes.”
Minutes later, another teacher responds: “[expletive] idiot.”
The good news for students at Blackstone Valley Prep is that they’re reading great authors. Of course, the bad news is their teachers sound like a bunch of dicks.
The most heart-wrenching piece of this whole embarrassing tale is the effect the leaked Slack transcripts have had on the students. The Journal writes how one student named Hudson Deighan, who was named in the chat above, had been struggling with spelling and is now more self-conscious about it than before.
It’s not just expletives getting tossed around. The leaked chats also get pretty disturbing:
“Man I wish we could hit them,” writes one teacher. Another responds, “Move to Arizona. Though really no school districts allow, by state law you are allowed to. Start your own charter and commence with the flogging.” She responds: “lol”
And possibly racist:
“Lying [expletive] scum,” writes one teacher of a failing student’s parent, using a Spanish curse word. She continued, in all caps, “I CANNOT WITH HER I HOPE HER STUPID SON FAILS ALL OF HIS CLASSES.”
Of course, most of our private chats would likely sound off-putting when taken out of context. But this incident is particularly cringeworthy since we’re talking about the abuse and mockery of high school teenagers.
In an open letter, the school says that it’s taking immediate action and investigating the situation. Three teachers have already been sacked after the school discovered on Wednesday that the allegations were true.