WESTPORT — An investigation is underway in Westport after a person allegedly “Zoom-bombed” an online meeting, making an obscene gesture with children and families present in the school-hosted Zoom meeting Wednesday night.

School officials were hosting a Westport School Committee meeting via the Zoom video conferencing platform. The meeting included over 200 participants, including parents, school officials, elected officials and some students.

According to a joint release from Westport Police and Westport Public Schools, at approximately 6:40 p.m. on August 26, an individual was recognized to speak. When that person’s video was turned on, the person was making sexually graphic gestures and comments directed at a school committee member.

The individual was removed from the meeting immediately.

The Westport Police Department and FBI were notified, and criminal investigations have been launched.

An initial review indicates that proper protocols were followed for hosting a Zoom meeting; however, Superintendent Gary Reese and the district's technology staff will be reviewing the protocols and will reconsider whether the Zoom platform has enough safeguards to host future school committee meetings safely.

“Zoom-bombing” incidents have become prevalent in recent months around the world as more people have been utilizing Zoom and other video conferencing programs to host meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The district will be offering counseling and assistance to any meeting attendee who wishes to further discuss the incident.

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