Dr. Gomez shared the following update on the May 28 Virtual Gala Zoom-bombing incident with parents, students, and members of Prep’s faculty and staff on Wednesday, June 17:
Dear Prep Family,
As you are probably aware, on the evening of May 28, our Virtual Gala Zoom meeting was interrupted by a Zoom-bombing attack by several perpetrators that included a mixture of vicious racist and sexist slurs, obscene drawings, and threats of violence. In the spirit of an event where all were welcome, we had shared the link to join the meeting with the general public via social media. In light of this, the attack was most likely random (part of an unfortunate trend of Zoom-bombings as more and more meetings and events around the world have used the Zoom platform in recent months).
At this time, there is no evidence to indicate this attack originated within our Prep community. However, should the authorities determine that it did, rest assured that our response will match the gravity of this offense. The actions of the Zoom-bombers were in direct violation of everything Saint Peter’s Prep stands for—not to mention applicable laws—and we cannot and will not allow the perpetrator(s) of such actions to remain at Prep. Regardless of the origin of this attack, we have a solemn responsibility to keep our students and employees safe, and therefore we have been treating this matter with the utmost seriousness, and will continue to do so.
Prep has been working with appropriate law enforcement agencies in order to identify the source of this attack, and I wanted to take this moment to update you on the specific steps we have taken. Mr. Dave Bailey, ’95, our director of educational technology, has reported the incident to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) and the FBI Tips program, as well as the Federal Trade Commission (as recommended by the FBI). He has also filed a security report with Zoom. Mr. Bailey also met with a detective from the Jersey City Police Department to open an investigation at the local level. As Zoom is a third-party service and we are merely users, cooperating fully with the authorities is our best means of investigating this attack. Moving forward, we are taking all appropriate precautions to enhance the security of our online meetings and ensure this incident is not repeated.
Please know that I have also discussed this incident with my counterparts at fellow Jesuit high schools and at other member schools of the New Jersey Association of Independent Schools (NJAIS), both to gain an outside perspective on our own experience and to add to other schools’ awareness of potential risks to their own events and communities.
l will keep you informed about the status of the investigation as I receive relevant information. The safety of our Prep community is paramount. As always, please keep Saint Peter’s Prep in your prayers, and be assured that I will keep you in mine.
Sub Umbra Petri,
Michael Gomez, Ed.D., ’91