Administration investigates offensive, inappropriate usernames on Kahoot



The usernames “allahuakbar,” “smd hoé” and “I hate blacks” were projected on the board in a junior math class during a game of Kahoot. Administrators are currently investigating the source of these usernames.

On Friday, March 4, inappropriate and offensive usernames were projected on a whiteboard in a junior Precalculus class as students began signing up for a game of Kahoot. Kahoot is an interactive game platform where students use their phones to participate in a quiz created by their teacher. Each game has its own individual PIN, and players create usernames that are displayed prior to the game. As students began typing in their usernames, the names “allahuakbar,” “smd hoé” and “I hate blacks” appeared on the screen.

According to junior Stewie Silvestri, who was in the math class, the math teacher immediately disconnected her computer from the projector and ended the game when she noticed the usernames. Three other students in the class confirmed this.

“She thought it was very inappropriate and scolded the class for laughing at it,” a member of the math class who asked to remain anonymous due to the sensitive nature of the event said. “Not everybody was laughing, but nobody spoke up about how offensive it was.”

The math teacher referred all comments to deans Scott Butchart and Brian Poon. Butchart and Poon declined to comment due to the ongoing nature of the investigation.

Silvestri and other students said that every student in the class was questioned by either Butchart or Poon on the following Monday. The deans asked the students to log into Kahoot to see if they had a history of creating one of the usernames in question. The deans then asked the students if they knew who was responsible for creating the names and then told the class that they had contacted the Kahoot company for the IP address of the phone that created the usernames. Three other students confirmed that their meetings with a dean matched Silvestri’s description of his.

“It was an offense to the entire community,” Butchart said in a Lunch and Learn meeting held during the entire 90 minute lunch and E-block on March 10. Deans, administrators, Headmaster Deborah Holman and approximately 40 students attended. Lunch and Learn is a weekly lunchtime discussion to get student feedback on curriculum, practices and ideas for school improvement on racial equity. The scheduled topic of the discussion had been changed from Performing Arts to School Culture, Discipline and Administration at the high school two days before the meeting. Many students came to discuss the incident in the math class and the incident on the school steps and vestibule on Tuesday, March 8.

The junior math class consisted of mostly White students and no Black students, according to Butchart.

METCO Coordinator Keith Lezama, who was present at the Lunch and Learn meeting, said he thinks that whoever was responsible for creating the names did not have malicious intentions.

“I think whoever did it was trying to be funny and provocative. They’re high school teenagers, that’s what they do,” Lezama said.

Lezama said he believes “the administrators are doing an amazing job of trying to deal with this challenging situation, and have put a lot of time and effort into it.”

“We’re just in a time right now where a lot of our students are very sensitive to such things like this,” Lezama said. “Many of our students of color are upset and have voiced their feelings with administrators, teachers, myself and Dr. Vick (director of African American and Latino Scholars Program Christopher Vick). I think as a community we are trying to do the right thing so that all students feel safe and all students feel comfortable.”