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School district spammed as students receive racist emails

December 2, 2020 GMT

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) — Public high school students in one Florida county received more than eight million racist emails with “disgusting” messages, school district officials said.

Students in Seminole County began receiving the messages on Saturday, and some of the emails made it to middle school students accounts as well, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

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School district officials say the spamming effort was blocked late Saturday, but officials were still working Tuesday to delete all of the messages.

Many emails included racist and derogatory messages, with some referencing Russia and its president Vladimir Putin, school district spokesman Michael Lawrence told the newspaper in an email.

He said one batch of emails sent to students at Hagerty High School and Crooms Academy contained a link to a video reportedly showing a beheading.

The district said no student or district data was breached, and the effort did not disrupt any district operations.

“Our Information Services Department and local law enforcement has been alerted and are working diligently to remedy the situation,” the school district said in one of several messages sent to parents. “In the meantime, please let your students know that if they have received any of these emails to DELETE THEM IMMEDIATELY!”

Lawrence said the emails appear to have been generated by a bot.

“When will my 10th grader stop getting these disgusting emails??” one mother wrote on the district’s Facebook page Monday. “She’s been getting them since Saturday and they keep coming in and I keep telling her to delete them. They are coming at such a rate that she’s losing important emails from her teachers in the midst of them.”

The district’s information services department, the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office and Microsoft are all investigating, Lawrence told the Sentinel.