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Cyber security, newsletters, and Griffith Stadium discussed by WPSB

File Photo | Webster Parish School Board Office

Paige Nash

Special to the Minden Press-Herald

There was a full house Monday at this month’s school board meeting with school set to begin this Friday, despite a ransomware attack targeting Louisiana schools, resulting in a precautionary shutdown of Webster Parish School computer systems. David Griffith was in attendance to represent Cybersecurity Task Force who was hired to deal with the situation. 

They are implementing six phases to get the WPSB back up and running. Phases 1-4 are complete. The final two phases have been delayed due to three different machines in three separate locations being compromised and needing further forensics. Griffith said, “More than likely these have entered our district through targeted phishing emails, where they go out and try to target specific employees to click on a link or an attachment that actually installs malicious software on the machines.” Until the last phase is completed, the day-to-day access will be limited, such as, internet, email, and telephone usage.

 A new report was added to the agenda this month called the “School Community Liaison Report.” The report was given by Ursula Hullaby, Safe School Coordinator/Community Liaison for WPSB. She gave an update on the 11th Annual Back to School Bash that was held at the Minden Civic Center earlier Monday morning. 

The bash provided students from all over the parish with wellness checks, empowerment sessions, backpacks, and school supplies to ensure that no student starts school without the necessities. In addition to that, Hullaby said,”We gave away eighteen bicycles and hundreds of dollars in gift cards and all of this was given to our kids. That’s a big thing. It’s very emotional for me, not just because it’s my thing, but because there is no way what we pulled off today could have been done if it had not been for the support of the community.” This event is for all Webster Parish students, but the goal is to eventually have another location in the northern part of the parish to host a bash in order for the same support to be more easily accessible for those students, as well. 

Starting next month, the board will begin receiving a bi-monthly newsletter with updates regarding things going on in the schools and community. The newsletter will be providing updates on the “Keep It Clean,” “Keep It Safe,” and “Lawn of the Month” campaigns to begin parish wide. 

An update on Griffith Stadium was provided at an additional meeting held on July 15th. Superintendent Rowland had a second meeting with Minden Mayor Terry Gardner. Gardner expressed that the city is interested in selling the ballpark and the bathrooms, but wish to retain the parking lot. The city is working on drawing up an agreement for the sale with further negotiations to take place in the future.