The assembly of some 250 Floyd County High School students, members of Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), in the school auditorium Friday was supposed to be a discussion about the dangers of drunk driving with a video from the American Trial Lawyers Association (ATLA) and a debate between Commonwealth’s Attorney Stephanie Shortt and lawyer Jonathan Rogers.
It turned into a graphic display of sexual intercourse.
The DVD with the ATLA video stuttered and, according to students at the event, The operator of the computer stopped the DVD and brought up the "favorites" play list on the laptop he was using to show the video. Instead of clicking again on the DVD, students in the auditorim say the operator apparently clicked on one of the videos stored as a "favorite" on the computer’s hard drive and it turned out to be a graphic pornographic film featuring a closeup shot of graphicsex. FCHS teacher and coach Stan Hawkins, who is also the school advisor of SADD, told the Roanoke Times he was adjusting the screen when the porno popped up. What is not clear yet is whether or not the laptop is question was a school unit assigned to a teacher or program or a personal one used for the demostration.
The video was stopped after a few seconds (which witnesses say lasted 5 to 15 seconds) but the damage was done. Accounts of what followed range from "chaos" to "pandemonium." Students whipped out cell phones and started calling people to relate what happened. My Blackberry lit up like a Christmas tree.
FCHS Principal Barry Hollandsworth sent a letter home with students calling the affair a "very unfortunate incident" and telling parents "your child" had been exposed to pornography. Hollandsworth was vague on details but promised a "complete investigation" into what happened.
What happened is that somebody screwed up big time because a pornographic video clip somehow found its way onto the hard drive of a laptop that is used in a public school.
Stay tuned. The school board is meeting on Monday and will probably discuss details of the incident in a closed-door "executive session."
(Updated on September 14.)