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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office is investigating an internet interference in the school district that is shutting the network down.

The school system’s technology department has been dealing with “distributed denial-of-service” issues since January. They say someone is targeting the school system. Superintendent Les Tubb says so far they think the person doing this is either a current or former student or staff member. It’s making instructional time very difficult for teachers like Stephie McCumbee, a teacher at Union Elementary School in Shallotte.

“I have a one-to-one student initiative where every student in my classroom has a computer, so if the internet is not working we’re pulling out the computers,” McCumbee said. “All the students are sitting down trying to login and it’s just causing a lot of wasted instructional time. When we were taking the benchmarks today when they were logging in they were really struggling. They couldn’t get online.”

The Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office is now investigating. Investigator Edward Carter says these interferences are happening more often.

“We have become a technology-dependent society, so everything that we do now requires some type of internet access or some type of computer interaction – whether you’re doing credit cards, checks, online transactions and of course anytime you have a service interruption in that infrastructure,” Carter said. “If you’re not prepared to work around it, it can cause problems.”

The DDoS issues interrupting internet service are coming from outside the school system’s network. The district says despite the inconvenience and frustration, the network itself has not been compromised. So as the investigation continues, classrooms are back to using pen and paper.

“They’re always asking me, ‘When are we going to use the laptops?’ McCumbee said. “It’s a way to get them to engage and enjoy school.”

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