No Signal; MISD gets Hacked


Ishrat Madiha

Students and Teachers throughout MISD have had to adjust their methods as MISD recovers from a cyberattack.

Mansfield ISD reopened for the school year mid August, welcoming back students, teachers, and staff. Although the summer before was spent in preparation for a smooth year, the district ran into a previously unforeseen problem early on: Mansfield ISD was under a cyberattack. 

The first day the lack of internet affected students was Monday, August 22nd. Students came to school expecting a typical Monday morning but were instead met with teachers scurrying around to provide an educational class period. Students and staff were unable to access any online district resources including Classlink, Canvas, and Skyward. Teachers were unable to import assignments on Canvas for their students to work on from school or home. 

The technology problems proved to make students’ lives much harder, especially those who were in AP classes. Junior, Clarissa Torres, relies heavily on her chromebook and Skyward account to get through her school activities thoroughly, and the lack of access at school was hard on her. 

“I don’t have access to Canvas and Skyward, and right now I do need Skyward a lot because I’m joining this thing called FFA and I have to pay for things and it’s all in Skyward. Right now I can’t even pay any dues or anything, as well as just checking my grades and making sure I’m on top of them,” Torres said. 

In the past 6 years, Mansfield ISD has made efforts to digitize the majority of learning material, having teachers become accostomed to this way of teaching. Many find this system more effective as Canvas allows organization and easy access for students. With no technology, though, teachers have had to give a majority of classwork and homework in paper form and it’s been a tedious process. Students, like junior Moiz Khan, appreciate this effort but think it was inevitable that they falter.

“Some have gone out of their way to print material that they have from before since they don’t have access to Canvas which is very noble of them. I think my teachers are doing the best they can but because of this technology issue they are starting to fall behind,” said Khan. 

Joko Riyanto, a business and technology teacher, has a class relying almost entirely on the internet but is doing the best he can to keep his students occupied. As someone who is in the military, Riyanto is well trained on adapting with the problems that arise, and “going with the flow,” as he likes to put it. On a daily basis, his class uses web communications and different programs to code. Despite being a technology based class, students in Riyanto’s class are as busy as ever with offline animation projects and creating motion power-points. 

“I rely on technology a lot but I do have a plan B. We didn’t have much downloaded in the classroom but it’s okay, we make do on animation for now. Now, we are just doing simple animation and pre-planning how to make a website. So we plan it out, and when we’re online again we can create. We are effective. Come to my class and you will work,” said Riyanto. 

Teachers throughout the school are doing their best to make sure their students can learn and stay on track of the curriculum. From changing lesson plans to keeping students engaged, they are adapting in all the ways they can. They are even having to work over-time, in a way, when the only way they can access their lesson plans and emails is at home on their personal WiFi. While they are okay with this for now, many like AP World History teacher, Jennifer Sweggler, also wished people would extend a little more patience with teachers through these confusing events. 

“It’s a difficult time and it would be really nice if people would show some grace to teachers rather than trying to play a blame game. Every day is a pivot. And that’s what it is to be a teacher. It’s constantly trying to adjust and change your way,” said Sweggler. 

The technological problems also proved to make counselors jobs difficult. The first few weeks of school are usually spent in a technological haze as counselors and students work together to get schedules adjusted, but with no online access to Skyward, that proved to be difficult. Counselor, Ashley Wann, feels that she wasn’t able to fully do her job without WiFi as all counselors heavily rely on it, but she is also looking at the positive side of things. 

“There were some drawback for sure, obviously, because we weren’t able to do the main focus of our job at the beginning of the school year, which is talking to students about schedules but at the same time, the counseling staff kind of banded together and used the time to make improvements to some of the rooms that we have for services for students around the school,” said Wann. 

Now, a week later, the internet access is back, and so are most systems such as Canvas, Classlink, and Skyward. The district sent emails to staff this week with updates. Although teachers are relieved that everything is running thoroughly again, some like Yearbook and Business teacher Kristi Cannon are concerned about what prolonged effects the cyberattack may leave. Many rumors have been circulating about the attackers possibly having access to teachers’ bank information and other personal accounts. The district told staff that they would communicate the information that pertained to them, but Cannon, among others, is worried about her personal information being accessible to strangers. 

“As far as the ‘why’ and the ‘what,’ I don’t know that that’s been communicated. We haven’t gotten any communication and maybe they’ve been so focused on the technology that they haven’t been able to communicate that but like, we don’t know if our personal information was compromised or not. It could be years down the road, we find out that someone has our information and they’ve pulled out a mortgage with our social security numbers. I mean I’ve heard the horror stories,” Cannon said. 

Students, teachers, and the district as a whole are now working to get back on track and hope that the rest of the school year operates without any more errors.