Granite Shoals City Council learned firsthand about the Zoom bombing during its meeting on Tuesday, October 26. About 20 minutes after the meeting started, one of the online participants started drawing inappropriate images of body parts in his Zoom window and swearing.

Mayor Will Skinner immediately requested a suspension as city staff ended the virtual meeting.

“We had to get out of (Zoom) and restart,” City Manager Jeff Looney said.

After the break, the virtual participants reconnected to the Zoom meeting using the same information.

“These same people were sitting in the chat room (when we got together again),” Looney continued. “We deleted them and reported them to Zoom and Google. It sounded like childish behavior to me. These children need to understand that they may lose their ability to be of service. “

Granite Shoals began meeting virtually in the spring of 2020 when Governor Greg Abbott announced stay-at-home orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is the first Zoom bombardment experienced by the city. The term is used to describe unwanted or disruptive behavior of people attending remote Zoom meetings that can be seen and overheard by other participants.

Granite Shoals CFO Russell Martin watches over the city’s virtual Zoom room. Virtual participants are linked to the Zoom meeting and enter an access code. A meeting host then lets them in.

Looney noted that of the 10 virtual attendees on Oct. 26, three were approved, meaning they were recognized by city staff. Staff could not identify the participant who caused the disruption.

“We have no idea where they are,” Looney said. “Right now we have tried to prevent them from attending meetings. We cannot guarantee that this will not happen (again); however, we will do our best to filter out participants.

Meetings are recorded and open to the public.

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