A Cyber Attack On LAUSD Makes Life At Venice High A Struggle

Amy Carranza, Co-Managing Editor

After the LAUSD ransomware attack last week, Venice High has slowly been getting back access to technology. However, that’s easier said than done.

 As far as principal Cynthia Headrick knows, on Friday, September 2, the first LAUSD website that was shut down to protect the district from the attack was MISIS, the teacher and student information system. 

Then during the Labor Day weekend, both teachers and students alike experienced limited access to their email accounts, including Schoology and other resources.

Even though Headrick was given back her account almost immediately after the attack, she understood the concerns for the rest of Venice High. 

“Teachers were most worried about how they would proceed with their lessons, making sure that the learning continued, and I had a student come in early in the morning and say, ‘Oh my God, my homework. What am I going to do?’” she said.

History teacher Alejandro Arroyo is one of the many teachers who were forced to make changes to their regular classroom routine. 

“I moved strictly to online this year, so my classes mostly use Chromebooks for their assignments, and with students not having access, me not having access—it was a mess,” he said. 

Despite the lack of technological resources, Arroyo adapted to the setback by going what he calls “old-school.”

“I mean, my students had to use good old notebooks and pens and paper to get through the class,” he states.

No matter how hard the school tried to make the most out of the pending situation though, it was still a major issue around campus for a handful of people.

An anonymous senior felt frustrated about not being able to hop online and complete other important documents plus school work.

“So we’re working on college applications right now, looking into college tours, and you have to sign up for those on Naviance, but I couldn’t sign up because of my account access,” they said.

“I couldn’t look at my Common App either, which is for out-of-state schools, because you need to link Naviance to that; I had assignments I couldn’t work on; I had a test I couldn’t do because it was due when Schoology shut down—it just made school life a lot harder overall.”

Not to mention the workload that gets piled up for I.T. when they are attacked as well because as Support Technician Orsy Giron said, no one was safe from the ransomware. 

“I wasn’t even immune. So not only did I have to reset my password, I essentially had to double down with my work and get students’ accounts back, because they need it for homework, you know, and teachers need it too because teaching is all done on computers now,” he said.

According to Giron, he feels that there isn’t enough cyber security for the amount of technology LAUSD has owned since the pandemic, therefore making attacks more blindsided and probable.

“You know, with all this technology, there has to be a security aspect to it; we’ve already been having issues with phishing emails for staff and for students—so it’s like, if something was coming in little earthquakes, you’re due for a big one, which happened with the cybersecurity attack.