Washington police investigating school board 'Zoom-bombing' incident as possible hate crime

A police department in Washington state is investigating a recent "Zoom-bomb" incident as a hate crime after people interrupted a school board meeting with racial slurs. 

Enumclaw, Washin., Police Department said officers would investigate the Nov. 22 incident as an intentional hate crime. An unknown person or group interrupted a regular school board Zoom meeting to display images of George Floyd and repeat a racial slur, according to NBC News K5 in Washington.

"This is a deeply disturbing, disruptive, and intolerable act the Enumclaw Police Department is taking extremely seriously and will work hard to identify the people responsible," said Enumclaw Police Commander Mike Graddon in a press release.

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Police will have to use a number of search warrants to capture the unique IP addresses of the individual or individuals responsible, Graddon said.

The incident follows controversy in several states over the teaching of critical race theory (CRT) in schools. CRT is a framework of legal analysis that proposes that racism is embedded in America's history as well as its laws and legal institutions

A law signed by the governor in April requires a professional training day for school district staff that focuses on diversity, equity and inclusion. According to an information sheet, the bill has no component of training or curriculum for students. CRT is "not even mentioned in the bill, nor is any related curriculum."  

The superintendent of schools in Enumclaw, Shaun Carey, wrote in a statement after the Nov. 22 incident that, no matter people's views and disagreements on curriculum, hate would not be supported in his district.

"The words and images used were aimed at degrading people of color," he wrote. "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."

The mayor and city council of Enumclaw also condemned the incident in a Facebook post.

"If we in this community don’t denounce what occurred on this Enumclaw version, what will all our children continue to think? What will be passed along? It is time to end this hateful rhetoric and set examples of strength and unity," city officials wrote.