In April, Berkeley High School students were shocked when in the middle of their video conference, a man joined the meeting, exposing himself and shouting obscenities. The infiltration was just one of the numerous examples of so-called “Zoom bombing”, which occurs when an unwanted or uninvited guest causes a disruption. However, unlike other high profile instances of Zoom bombing, Berkeley High School’s example stands out as the organizers of the video conference followed best practices aimed at preventing such an invasion.

The response was an immediate suspension of video conferencing services. Berkeley Unified School District Superintendent Brent Stevens wrote in a districtwide email, “... I’ve received from many of you that the real-time online interaction between students and teachers has been a valuable relief from the sense of isolation during this Shelter-in-Place order...It is simply unacceptable to ignore the risk of this significance.”

Yet, therein lies an underlying problem, due to shelter-in-place orders, schools and students have been thrust into unfamiliar territory. These disruptions are not merely the latest in school pranks. Students coordinating efforts to Zoom bomb each other’s lessons over on the platform Discord might be likened to a high-tech version of typical foolery. But class clowns were not previously able to broadcast pornographic material to kindergarteners as they are now.