Superintendent Eileen Shafer Says District Is Filing Police Reports For All Incidents: 'We Have Zero Tolerance For This'

PATERSON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The new normal of virtual learning has unexpectedly included obscenities and even pornography for some students in New Jersey.

Nearly half of Paterson‘s schools have spotted intruders in their virtual classrooms.

Paterson’s school district took months to prepare for remote-only learning, and just days into the new year, there were problems.

“There was some cursing that went on, some verbal threats and some pornography,” Paterson Public Schools Superintendent Eileen Shafer said.

Shafer says kids were sharing links to their Google classrooms with students who didn’t belong in those classes.

COMPLETE COVERAGE: Schools: The New Normal

Chris Lewis is the head of technology in the district.

“As of right now, working with Google to get their moderator controls to prevent students that are not in the classroom would be the first thing that we need to do with Google,” Lewis said.

Not only is the school district making sure it doesn’t happen again, it’s trying to hold those responsible accountable.

“We have the prosecutor involved, the sheriff’s department, the police department. We’re doing police reports on all of them. We have zero tolerance for this,” Shafer said.

She says any kid caught engaging in disruptive behavior will be suspended.

“We’re not going to have people enter our classes. If we were in a physical building, we wouldn’t allow students to go into another class and deliberately disrupt it,” Shafer said.


Schools throughout the district remain closed. Virtual learning is the only option and there have been a number of issues to overcome already.

There were federal funding concerns. Once that got resolved, a shipment of 14,000 Chromebooks got delayed, creating doubt over the ability to do remote learning at every turn.

MORE: Paterson School District Unsure If All Students Will Be Equipped With Laptops In Time For Virtual Classes

“We care and we wanna make it right … and now we’ve got another bump in the road and we’re going to make that right and we’re gonna move on so that we can educate them,” Shafer said.

For now, students will need to keep working through any possible distractions as educators continue to learn new tools to prevent them with remote-only learning in place through at least Nov. 1.

The district says of the 25 kids responsible for disturbing those virtual classrooms, half of them have been identified and they all live in Paterson.

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