Zoombombers Interrupt School Board Meeting With N-Word, Photo of George Floyd

A Washington school district's Zoom meeting was infiltrated by two individuals using racial slurs, and local police are investigating the incident as a hate crime, according to the Associated Press.

The November 22 incident occurred during a regular Enumclaw School District meeting. The AP reported that the two unidentified people began playing a recording of the N-word as Dr. Shaun Carey, the superintendent and a Black man, started speaking.

One of the perpetrators also held up a photo of George Floyd, a Black man whose 2020 killing by a police officer sparked Black Lives Matter protests around the country.

The school board released a statement saying it stands with Carey and against hateful speech.

"The actions during the last board meeting will not be tolerated," the statement said. "It remains the goal of the district and the board to ensure ALL feel safe, welcomed, respected and valued within our schools and our communities."

The statement also noted that two separate Zoom accounts were used in the incident; one that displayed the George Floyd photo, and one appeared to be an elderly white male. It also said that two IP addresses were identified, but the investigation is still ongoing.

In a media release posted to the Enumclaw Police Department's NextDoor page, Commander Mike Graddon called the act "deeply disturbing, disruptive, and intolerable." He said it is being investigated as an intentional hate crime, with other law violations including "disturbing a school meeting and disorderly conduct" being considered.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Enumclaw, Washington
The Enumclaw Police Department is investigating two unidentified individuals who infiltrated a school district's Zoom meeting and used racial slurs at the Black superintendent. Above, Mount Rainier covered by clouds from Mount Pete near Enumclaw, Washington. Stock Image/Getty Images

The investigation may require search warrants to capture data to identify the unique addresses of the devices used to disturb the meeting—which could take time, Graddon wrote.

"Our investigators will exhaust all potential leads to serve our entire community with equity," Graddon wrote. "We are asking for the public's understanding that these types of investigations take time and diligence."

The incident prompted Dr. Shaun Carey, the schools superintendent, to post an open letter on November 24, titled "Hate has no home here."

"Without going into much detail, our monthly board meeting was interrupted with spontaneous hate speech that left most of those in attendance shocked and appalled," he wrote. "The words and images used were aimed at degrading people of color. Regardless of whether or not the two individuals who carried out this hateful act were random 'zoombombers' or members of our community, the actions are unacceptable and will not be tolerated."

Zoom lesson on a laptop screen
A Washington school district's Zoom meeting was infiltrated by two individuals using racial slurs, and local police are investigating the incident as a hate crime. Above, a stock image of a Zoom lesson. Getty Images