Local News

Randolph-area school district disables its own website following transphobic hack

By Auditi Guha/VTDigger

The Orange Southwest Supervisory District’s website was hacked Saturday and inundated with “hate speech, symbols, and photographs targeting transgender individuals,” Superintendent Layne Millington wrote community members on Saturday, Oct. 1.

The incident prompted district leaders to disable its website and social media accounts, Millington wrote, and to refer the matter to local and federal law enforcement. “While the speech has been disgusting and disturbing, it has not been threatening,” he wrote.

According to Millington, the hacking appears related to a recent incident involving the Randolph Union Middle/High School girls’ volleyball team.

District officials have declined to elaborate, citing federal privacy laws. But in a separate email to the community Friday, Sept. 30, Millington wrote, “There was an incident involving the girls’ volleyball team that is currently being investigated, that investigation is ongoing at this time.”

WCAX reported last week that the incident involved a transgender student on the team. The TV station’s story, which focused on a teammate critical of the transgender student, was picked up over the weekend by Fox News, the Daily Signal, the New York Post and others.

In his Saturday email, Millington criticized the news media for trying to “make it look like the district refuses to comment for some nefarious reason when they know the law prevents us from doing so.” A result of officials’ inability to correct the record, he wrote, is that “folks present partial, false, or incorrect information.”

“The consequences of such a system … are sadly clear, misinformed people moved to action who do things like vandalize our website with hate speech,” he wrote.

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