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DD facing suspension. Please Help.

(88 Posts)
VoldemortsNipple Fri 02-Nov-12 21:19:26

Sorry if this is drip fed. I have only been informed this evening of this situation and most of my information is coming from DD.

DD is 16 and is in the sixth form attached to the school she has attended since she was 11. Throughout this time she has never been in more trouble than not turning up for band practice. She has represented the school on many occassions and was hoping to be chosen to go to Philadelphia next year on a student exchange programme.

It has transpired that on Wednesday morning a computer virus has attacked the school system. Apparently this virus could have caused thousands of pounds worth of damage and could have entered the school computer systems throughout the whole city.

At 10am this morning, dd was removed from lessons and taken to one of the offices and questioned by three senior members of staff. The virus has been traced back to a computer which DD was logged on to. DD admits that she was on this computer but denies that she had anything to do with uploading any malious software. She admits to using Tumblr to show her friend some pictures but says that she had no problem gaining access to the site. She certainly didnt click on any pop up links.

Now I am the first to support the school if they have any concerns and I understand that DD would have to be questioned about this incident as it has been traced back to her computer. However I am seriously concerned in the way my dd has been treated.

She was questioned by the 3 staff members about what she was doing on the computer and she admitted to using Tumblr. They informed her that this wasnt the kind of virus that you get from clicking on something and you would know what you were doing. It sounds like they then changed tactics and asked who else she had given her password to.

The head teacher then began to ask DD if she understood the seriousness of the situation. He told her that the company who provide the computer security want to see action taken against who is responsible. He told DD that this is a serious criminal offence in which she could face 6 months in prison. He said he would have to suspend her for two days to show the company he was taking action. They seemed to come back and forth throughout the day asking her questions.

DD was placed in isolation and was asked to write a statement while they went verify her statement with people she had been with. She was offered to go and get lunch by the teacher she was in isolation with but was frightened to go incase she was accused of asking people to back up her story.

DD was offered nobody to represent her or offer pastorial support. I dont mean a lawyer, but at the very least she should have been offered a teacher to give her some support and ask questions on her behaif. It wasnt until 3pm that they phoned her dad to inform him of the situation and tell him she was facing a two day suspension.

clam Fri 02-Nov-12 21:23:51

Eh? This sounds like some horrific film! Shouldn't your dd have had an adult with her during such questionning?

And why has the school/LA not got an adequate screening system to guard against such viruses?

VoldemortsNipple Fri 02-Nov-12 21:46:40

Clam Thats what I think. She should definatly have had an adult with her.

As for the systems guarding against such viruses. I think we can say they must be working pretty good if they picked it up and stopped it from causing widespread damage within a few short hours.

it sounds to me that an external body has hacked into the system through the open wetwork while dd has been online and has uploaded it through her computer.

mummymccar Fri 02-Nov-12 21:57:15

"it sounds to me that an external body has hacked into the system through the open wetwork while dd has been online and has uploaded it through her computer."

This is exactly what I thought too. Your poor DD, she must be terrified. I think you need to go to the school and tell them them all of what you have written above, tell them that in the future she is not to be interviewed without you present, and tell them that you are considering taking legal advice.
I think that if you and I can both come to the conclusion that it may have been accessed through her computer by somebody else then why have they not if they are such experts? Surely they should be investigating that possibility.
Good luck to you both, I hope it gets resolved in your favour very soon.

ThePathanKhansWitch Fri 02-Nov-12 22:07:57

Poor dd, I'd be looking for full apology,how dare they.
Could you get your own forensic computer person in if they threaten to escalate?
Letter to board of Gov, lea,ofsted?
Poor child must be distraught.

Maryz Fri 02-Nov-12 22:17:10

I would just be a little careful before going in all guns blazing.

I know you say "she should have had an adult with her" but I bet one of the three teachers who was there was "on her side" or was a guidance teacher, or her form teacher or something, even if your dd didn't recognise that was the case.

They will have had to isolate her, because of phones/facebook/her being able to talk to other students. And they have to come down hard and quickly to make sure it doesn't get worse.

Hacking school computers is a massive problem. So the school have to take it seriously, and it sounds as though she was unlucky enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. If that is the case, they will realise soon enough and it will all blow over.

I would just reassure her that if she hasn't done anything wrong nothing bad will happen, and tell her not to worry about it for the moment. Then ring the school on Monday morning and see what the outcome is.

If you go in all guns blazing and threaten legal retribution they will think she has something to hide and will be very suspicious. It may well also upset her more.

Hopefully it will all have calmed down by Monday, they will have found out what happened, and the suspension will be lifted.

ProphetOfDoom Fri 02-Nov-12 22:21:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Maryz Fri 02-Nov-12 22:22:56

Oh, yes, that paragraph is obviously a load of bollocks and made up to get her to confess hmm.

I would still stay calm and wait and see what happens. Because I suspect nothing will.

VoldemortsNipple Fri 02-Nov-12 22:25:18

She's been working so hard getting involved with all kinds of things to put on her ucas form and not she will have a suspension on her record.

I asked what kind of trouble would somebody normally get in for accessing social networking sites. DD thinks they would just be told off. As far as I can see, this is all she can be punished for. I will definitely ask for a meeting to bring up my concerns of how she was treated and not represented.

Poor DD was scared stiff that they would come and take her home laptop away and she would be in more trouble for downloading music from dodgy sites.

ThePathanKhansWitch Fri 02-Nov-12 22:31:44

Threatening a child like that is massive overkill and smacks of bullying. I would be lived.

ProphetOfDoom Fri 02-Nov-12 22:33:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

VoldemortsNipple Fri 02-Nov-12 22:33:37

maryz DD is sure that the three senior staff questioning her were not on her side. There were other teachers who she spoke to while in isolation that were on her side and couldn't believe how she had been treated. One of the admin staff even took pity on her and gave her a chitty to get a taxi home smile

It's not my style to go in all guns blazing but I certainly don't want to sit back while they suspend her either.

ProphetOfDoom Fri 02-Nov-12 22:35:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

OohMrDarcy Fri 02-Nov-12 22:40:22

Going on the information I have read (and please point out if I misunderstood)

the virus was tracked to a machine she logged onto - was it tracked to the time she was logged on. If the virus was quarantined rather than spread (as appears) there will be a log in the AV software of what what blocked and at what time.

secondly - the virus didn't actually do anything, it was completely contained - which of course is what the anti virus software is designed to do..

It sounds like they don't actually have a problem at all! Coming from someone who works in IT, Viruses happen, people click things by accident and viruses get downloaded / infected (not saying that was your DD) . Thats the whole point of why AV software exists

Maryz Fri 02-Nov-12 22:42:55

It sounds to me as though they panicked.

I just know (from bitter experience) that they will have an answer to everything you say to them - they will say that one of the teachers was there "for her".

I think if they back down and cancel the suspension I would let it go to keep the peace.

I'm not saying they are right btw - it really sounds horrible and scary for her - I'm just saying sometimes it's better to let these things go, if they back off.

VoldemortsNipple Sat 03-Nov-12 10:01:00

ohmydarcy thank you that's very helpful. DD was logged on to the computer at the time it tried to attack. 11.53am to be precise. She would have been getting ready to log off at this point as she was going to meet her friend at the other end of the building at 12 for lunch. The virus was noticed by the IT guys at around 2pm that day. No damage was done and the virus was contained. DD says she didn't use a proxy site to gain access to tumblr and assumed it was safe.

maryz all I want is for them to cancel the suspension. It's not yet set in stone as they want to speak to the girl DD was with. But if they don't want to back down, I will play on the treatment she received and the way it was handled. If they want to give her a detention for using tumblr, then fine.

LeeCoakley Sat 03-Nov-12 10:10:04

But why did he go for her in that aggressive fashion? He should have questioned her in a way remembering that she is innocent until proved guilty. That statement about going to prison - disgusting. I would be so angry with the school.

Hamishbear Sat 03-Nov-12 10:30:06

Are you sure you have the full story from your daughter - could she have been looking at other sites other than tumblr? Spending time on the internet when she should have been working etc? Not saying she is guilty or had malicious intent but just wondering. They may have evidence she's been looking at tumblr and other sites that have compromised the computer in some way? Does seem a very extreme reaction by the school. I would be beating a path to the headmaster's office for a full explanation.

Hamishbear Sat 03-Nov-12 10:34:13

Just noticed this: She was questioned by the 3 staff members about what she was doing on the computer and she admitted to using Tumblr. They informed her that this wasnt the kind of virus that you get from clicking on something and you would know what you were doing.

If she was on the computer at the time this happened - and they might be able to prove that - isn't it possible she inadvertently activated some trojan horse or something? How would 3 staff members know so quickly this 'wasn't the kind of virus that you get from clicking on something' and you would know what you were doing? Are they IT experts? Has she told them exactly what she accessed at the time?

tiggytape Sat 03-Nov-12 10:41:11

It all sounds like a massive over reaction on the part of the school. A virus attacked but was contained and did no damage and as a result their I.T company are furious?

I think before you do anything else you need to get the full story from the school's point of view. Is something more is going on and either DD or the school has yet to tell you? The fact that she was on tumblr may take away her cridibility in their eyes that she didn't also do something else. But even if she did click on a pop up from tumblr by accident, it iseasily done and still a massive over reaction.

As she's been there for 6 years and the school have never been trigger-happy with punishments before, I would question them about what exactly they are so in a tizz about. It sounds as if they are hinting at a deliberate attack?

SoggySummer Sat 03-Nov-12 10:45:24

I think you need to go and see the head teacher and get a full explaination as to what has happend and why exactly the school think its all down to your daughter.

I cannot believe a school suspends a pupil for something they deem so serious as computer hacking and dont get the parents in to see the head to discuss first. So you just got a call? What was explained to you or her Dad in that call? Did they not offer you a fuller explaination? Were you not given the option to go in or call back and discuss?

The way this has been handled is appalling.

I sincerely hope you can get to the bottom of this. I would be at the school 8am Monday morning demanding to see the head, head of IT and wanting a full explanation.

mummytime Sat 03-Nov-12 11:00:17

Is this a private school?
They are massively over reacting, and they need to get better computer security. It is their IT department's responsibility to prevent this kind of thing. They should be preventing: viruses being able to attack the system, they should be detected and dealt with promptly; they should be blocking all pop ups or access to dodgey sites (and inspecting certificates to make sure sites are who they say they are).
It is not your daughter's fault!

My DS who has on more than one occasion tried to hack the system (or done something similar but against rules), has had no more than his access suspended and been told off. His school and I both treat it relatively mildly as we know he isn't being malicious (he's tried to see if he can rather than wanting to create damage), however on the other hand we have warned him about consequences. The IT department work well because he has always been caught and punished (the IT ban is a real pain).

In your DD's case it looks as if they tried to shift the blame to a pupil, because they aren't doing a good enough job.

EdithWeston Sat 03-Nov-12 11:00:35

Hamishbear: look at the timeline - she was on the computer on Wednesday but the disciplinary process started on Friday. As the network is one shared by several schools there probably is an IT department who runs it for all of them and there has been enough time to investigate and the school is probably working from an incident report. You are right though, in that OP should ask what exactly what was reported - for as other posters have pointed out it does look as though the attack was well contained and the 'worst case' outcome not at all likely to have come to pass.

Does the school have a published IT usage policy? If so, have a look before any meetings. This thread prompted me to have a look at ours, which I found on line, is 10 pages long and contains reference to sanctions. Sharing passwords is a punishable breach in itself, and I think the school was right to ask about this to exclude the possibility. Knowingly infecting with a virus is a major breach, for which punishment is not described beyond 'will be referred to Head'. Actions against the permitted usage policy which leave the system vulnerable to attack are also punishable breaches. Is the school acting in line with its own policy?

Copthallresident Sat 03-Nov-12 11:51:56

IT people don't always know what they are doing, even at our most respected institutions!! A Trojan found it's way into my computer when I was uploading something to an Oxford University intranet. It turned out the trojan, which caused your computer to mail anyone you had ever mailed from your computer with a dodgy link, had also resulted in Oxford sending careers offices in schools literally thousands of these dodgy emails! Yet their IT people were utterly useless, denying it was anything to do with their systems, in spite of the fact that I could quote my DDs' school's careers officer's annoyance at finding their email account clogged up with the dodgy mails from them!! They also advised me it was incredibly difficult to get rid of and I should basically get a new computer, I typed the identifier from my anti virus software into google and got rid of it in ten minutes!!!

There is absolutely no way I would be disciplining one of our students purely on the say so of our IT geeks!! It sounds as though the school haven't worked that out and have acted out of misplaced faith in their expertise and authority. You should certainly go in and ask for a full explanation, and whether this alleged act of vandalism is in their judgement in character for your daughter? If your DD is a good pupil surely some common sense should have prevailed rather than the advice of IT people who do not know your daughter and probably nurse paranoid stereotypes of all pupils being evil hackers out to sabotage all their hard work and precious systems!!

My DD's school block all social networking etc sites , my DDs couldn't get on to Tumbler from a school computer anyway, and it is naive of the school to expect that if they leave that possibility open that it's pupils will be able to resist.

Pi1978 Sat 03-Nov-12 12:02:04

If this happened at about the time when she would have been leaving for lunch, is there a possibility that she hasn't logged off correctly and someone else has taken advantage of her log-on?

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