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Thursday briefs

Zoom meeting hacked, survey put out, Night Out postponed


LCPS Zoom meeting hacked

Las Cruces Public Schools has filed a criminal report with Las Cruces Police following an incident Tuesday where a hacker gained access to a school-sponsored Zoom meeting, displaying disturbing content and racial slurs.  

The Zoom meeting was hosted by Camino Real Middle School on behalf of the Parent Teacher Student Organization. About 20 minutes into the meeting, an uninvited attendee began to share their screen, which displayed profane language and explicit content.  

The host immediately stopped the meeting and tried to relaunch it, but the hacker gained access again. The meeting has been postponed while LCPS administration investigate how the incident happened and what safety protocols need to be revisited moving forward.  

LCPS Superintendent Dr. Karen Trujillo was immediately notified and worked with school administrators to inform Camino Real parents of what happened, and what steps the district is taking.  

“This was an isolated incident that reiterates the importance of following all safety measures outlined by the district,” said Trujillo. “As we continue planning for a fully online start to the school year, our focus must be on protecting students and staff from any type of criminal behavior, including online threats. Nothing will come before our students’ safety.” 

District officials circulated a refresher for all staff on the safety measures that are required by all district employees. A copy of that document is posted at www.lcps.net.  

 ‘Zoombombing’, as it is now called, is illegal and punishable by law. Anyone with information on the suspect responsible for Tuesday’s attack is asked to call Las Cruces Doña Ana County Crime Stoppers, 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Information that leads to an arrest is eligible for a cash reward and you will remain anonymous. Tips can also be relayed via the Crime Stoppers app, found in the Apple App Store or Google Play under ‘P3 Tips’, or by clicking on “Submit a tip” at www.crimestopperslc.info.  

Survey released by state to assess childcare needs and school reentry

Two state agencies released an online survey today asking New Mexico families to describe their needs for childcare and other supports as a first step toward helping families and educators prepare for school reentry amid the pandemic.

The Public Education Department and the Early Childhood Education & Care Department will use the results to support school districts and charter leaders in meeting the needs of their families who need access to child care when remote learning resumes in August and when hybrid learning begins in the coming months. The online survey, available here in English, Spanish and Diné, will remain open until the agencies are satisfied with the response rate. However, the agencies are encouraging families to complete the survey by Monday, Aug. 10. 

Families who need child care can also view an interactive map of child care centers by school district, available here.

In addition, ECECD has unveiled a new version of its “Am I Eligible?” app that allows child care assistance applicants to submit documents online. Doing so will allow ECECD staff to respond to applicants about the status of their application more quickly.

Currently, childcare assistance eligibility in New Mexico is up to 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, which is $52,400 for a family of four. 

National Night Out postponed for 2020

National Night Out, the annual event that promotes community partnerships and camaraderie between residents and police, has been postponed for 2020 because of the public health emergency.

The Las Cruces police and fire departments, in partnership with the City of Las Cruces and first responders from throughout the county, have held the event the first Tuesday of August for the past several years. The event has been held along the Downtown Mall and has been well received each year by thousands of participants.

Organizers hope to resume hosting National Night Out in 2021.