Police investigate racist hack that disrupted Ben Franklin High students' virtual field trip

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Police and the School District of Philadelphia are investigating after a virtual field trip by students at Ben Franklin High School was hacked. The district said three dozen students were subjected to suggestive images and inappropriate language.

It happened as three dozen students were on a virtual field trip to Lincoln University Monday morning as part of a Black History Month event.

According to a letter to the school community from Franklin principal Christine Borelli, the link provided by Lincoln was hacked by someone “dressed in attire associated with a well-known hate group.”

The feed was cut off by Franklin staff, but not before students were exposed to a person making racist comments and showing suggestive pictures of young women.

School staff reported the incident to police in Philadelphia and in Lower Oxford Township, where Lincoln is located.

In a statement, district spokeswoman Monica Lewis said, Safeguarding the health and well-being of our students is our top priority and we want to ensure that our students and staff have the high quality learning and instruction environments that they deserve, especially as we engage in digital learning due to the closure of school buildings in response to COVID-19. Students and families are encouraged to share any questions or concerns about this incident with the principal.”​