#school | #ransomware | 2 months after ransomware attack, Las Cruces Public Schools still crippled by limited internet access

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico — More than two months after a massive ransomware attack compromised the Las Cruces Public Schools network, a teachers’ union president told ABC-7 that educators are forced to work extra hours “at the expense of their well-being.”

“It has become very overwhelming for our educators,” said Denise Sheehan, the president of the National Education Association in Las Cruces. “Ultimately, teachers need to feel appreciated.”

According to an NEA survey shared with ABC-7, 47 percent of teachers reported that they work “multiple hours every week” outside of their contract hours due to complications in district technology. (The survey is available for download below).

Sheehan said the union plans to ask the district for compensation for the teachers’ efforts to maintain a high quality of learning: using their personal cell phone data, printing at home and working extra hours.

“They made it work,” Sheehan said. “At the expense of their well-being.”

In November, district officials said every computer in the district had to be cleaned in “an effort to avoid another ransomware attack.”

While teachers have worked to ensure the students have access to educational materials, one Las Cruces High student told ABC-7 she’s worried about her future.

“I feel like I’m unable to track my progress,” said Miranda Romero, the school’s junior class president. “Now that I’m a junior, I’m applying for scholarships. You have to enter your current GPA. I don’t know my current GPA.”

Romero is involved in numerous extra-curricular activities, including track, cross country, student media, National Honor Society, Best Buddies and dance. Before the ransomware attack, she said she checked her grades several times a week.

“So many kids have been taking advantage of not being able to check your grades and the teachers being unable to take attendance like they normally would,” Romero said. “So many people are ditching class in excessive amounts.”

“Students are not showing up because there’s no accountability on that side,” said Sheehan. “There wasn’t a phone call home to let parents know that (students) were not in class.”

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