Malibu Middle and High Schools Zoom-Bombed

Malibu High School Archive photo.

As the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) school year has progressed online, both Malibu’s high school and middle school have had to deal with “Zoom-bombing,” which Malibu Pathways Director Mr. Isaac Burgess and SMMUSD Superintendent Dr. Ben Drati described in a joint press release earlier this month as “unwanted, disruptive intrusions” into virtual classrooms. The pair said that there have been multiple Zoom-bombing incidents at both schools to date. 

Burgess and Drati said they were finding ways to secure the student log-in process, such as moving to a log-in system that would have students first go through their SMMK12 accounts (in other words, the school district’s website) to prevent unwanted outsiders from entering Zoom classrooms. They also reminded students to practice good “Netiquette”—online etiquette. 

Zoom-bombing is a well-documented phenomenon that has plagued college classes, business meetings and an array of other online events globally in 2020. In some instances, such as during a nearby Conejo Valley School Board meeting, Zoom bombers have spewed racist or sexually inappropriate comments before administrators have been able to shut down the online meeting. 

The company Zoom, whose products surged in popularity after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, told VICE in June 2020 that it had tightened security measures by adding features such as “waiting rooms” in all conferences so hosts can confirm participants before entry. A Zoom spokeswoman told the publication that the company takes the problem “extremely seriously.”