Tongues are wagging

It didn't take long for word of the porno video that popped up in the middle of a Floyd County High School assembly on drunk driving to circulate throughout the area. I received the first call from a student before the session in the auditorium ended (it seems a number of FCHS students have my cell phone on speed dial).

By 4 p.m. some 23 messages had arrived on my Blackberry. The story circulated on the streets outside the Friday Night Jamboree and over dinner at local restaurants. A student who works at one local establishment showed me a photo on his cell phone of the letter sent home with students. Another had a short video clip of the reaction of students inside the auditorium.

In a county where even rudimentary sex education is frowned upon in public schools, word that a few seconds of a video clip depicting anal sex popped up on screen in the FCHS assembly fueled the gossip meals. A few local ministers preached against it from the pulpits on Sunday.

The incident, no doubt, will overshadow everything else on the agenda of Monday's school board meeting. FCHS principal Barry Hollandsworth promised parents a "complete investigation" into the matter.

Several readers have pointed out that what happened at FCHS has happened elsewhere, most recently in Phoenix.

While it is obvious that someone wasn't on the ball when it came to keeping an eye on a laptop computer used for the SADD meeting, we should avoid premature speculation or assignment of blame or fault until all the facts are known in the case. Hollandsworth and School Administrator Terry Arbogast owe the public a full and complete explanation on what happened and how.  The person or persons responsible for placement of a pornographic video on a computer used in a school function must be dealt with swiftly and harshly.

It didn’t take long for word of the porno video that popped up in the middle of a Floyd County High School assembly on drunk driving to circulate throughout the area. I received the first call from a student before the session in the auditorium ended (it seems a number of FCHS students have my cell phone on speed dial).

By 4 p.m. some 23 messages had arrived on my Blackberry. The story circulated on the streets outside the Friday Night Jamboree and over dinner at local restaurants. A student who works at one local establishment showed me a photo on his cell phone of the letter sent home with students. Another had a short video clip of the reaction of students inside the auditorium.

In a county where even rudimentary sex education is frowned upon in public schools, word that a few seconds of a video clip depicting anal sex popped up on screen in the FCHS assembly fueled the gossip meals. A few local ministers preached against it from the pulpits on Sunday.

The incident, no doubt, will overshadow everything else on the agenda of Monday’s school board meeting. FCHS principal Barry Hollandsworth promised parents a "complete investigation" into the matter.

Several readers have pointed out that what happened at FCHS has happened elsewhere, most recently in Phoenix.

While it is obvious that someone wasn’t on the ball when it came to keeping an eye on a laptop computer used for the SADD meeting, we should avoid premature speculation or assignment of blame or fault until all the facts are known in the case. Hollandsworth and School Administrator Terry Arbogast owe the public a full and complete explanation on what happened and how.  The person or persons responsible for placement of a pornographic video on a computer used in a school function must be dealt with swiftly and harshly.

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7 Responses

  1. I think we’ve been conditioned (maybe by movies, maybe by the media) to assume that people have hidden agendas or addictions. This might be what prevents people from using good old common sense.

    I can certainly relate to Rose Bowen’s comments. I consider myself computer savvy, but a few years ago, even though I was extremely careful about what sites I visited and what emails I opened, I was the victim viruses which installed porn-dialers on my work computer. Fortunately the computer staff didn’t jump to conclusions but instead helped me rid the computer of all of the blasted things as soon as I reported having trouble.

    Perhaps if the rest of the public had a similar experience, they’d be a little more reasonable. I agree that since children are involved, an explanation should be required, but let’s not just assume that the teacher had some hidden agenda or addiction.

    I happen to know the teacher and feel 100% confident that he would NEVER purposefully expose children to that sort of thing. So sit tight and let’s hope that the school system does the right thing.

  2. I think it may be difficult to find the person or persons responsible. First of all…if Mr. Hawkins had anything to do with putting that content on the computer, I find it very hard to believe he would have made the careless mistake of opening it. If he knew it was there it seems he would have taken great care NOT to open it.

    If someone wanted to do a prank of this nature, and the computer was left unattended for 5 minutes, it is possible someone could have put that clip in the ‘favorites’ box and labeled it anything they wanted.

    No access due to lack of a password? Download it on a disc at home, bring the disc in and up load it onto this computer? There are so many possibilities and I’m just speculating like everyone else. But high school kids are very curious and some could think this a great joke. I used to baby sit for a couple who had “girlie” magazines hidden in their house. Of course I was intrigued by them. Unless you have some kind of porn blocker on your home computer, porn sites are open to any and everyone.

    My nature is to give the benefit of the doubt and I hope the authorities do not jump to conclusions or make inconclusive accusations to placate the community. To the student who cannot imagine sitting in Mr. Hawkin’s class today….remember, he may have been just as surprised and shocked as you were. My point to this blog posting is not to jump to conclusions but wait and see what can be discovered. There are many possibilities, not just one.

  3. I’ve done a good bit of computer troubleshooting over the years and there are some very sophisticated outfits out there who install spam and porn and malware on your system without your knowledge or consent.

    One mother called me to come clean some porn off her home PC, she was horrified to find a whole list of favorites in her browser with explicit names and folders, each one a link to some images or short video clips. She assumed her teenage son was to blame. He swore he’d had nothing to do with it and we soon found it was true.

    A porn company paid for an advertising campaign online that ran on the search engines, offering a free desktop wallpaper from two very popular movies at the time. When you clicked on the ad, nothing appeared to happen. But the ad went to a site with commands to silently install software on the computer, which installed the porn links, disconnected the computer modem and then redialed the modem silently to an offshore ISP…who then sent the homeowner a bill for $400 for this dial-a-porn setup. To add insult to injury, the porn dialer silently dialed that offshore number several times a day when the computer was not in use (which was how we determined the son had nothing to do with it…the thing was dialing when nobody was even home!)

    Many homeowners paid it, thinking their spouse/kid/neighbor had been watching porn unbeknownst to them. But it was all a total scam and thousands of homes across the US were hit with it. There were class action suits against the company filed in almost every state. Personally I cleaned five computers in one month due to the same company’s dirty tricks.

    The point is this: there are ways that creepy companies can install this junk on your computer that you have no inkling about. It’s a horrible, dirty racket. Malware and drive-by spamming, keyloggers that record your keystrokes (and thus your access to online accounts, etc.) are all dangers that exist on the internet and you have to be very wary about these things. Installing filters, blockers, and cleaners and running them regularly is vital. But many people don’t even know these programs exist, and don’t know how to find them on their computers. Most people aren’t that computer literate…and in a high school setting, who knows who may have used that laptop before the day of the video showing? It could have been a prank, it could have been very innocent with nobody knowing they are the ones who triggered the malware install.

    So before you point fingers at anyone, let the folks who understand computers do their job and see what conclusions they come to. I think it’s a reasonable assumption that Stan Hawkins would never have jeopardized his job and reputation and risked harming the kids he’s worked with for so many years by knowingly clicking to a porn video. Before you mistrust someone who’s been known and loved in the community, be suspcious of the perverts in the outside world who just live to invite people to their private dumpsters of filth so they can make millions. It’s a sick world.

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