At 1:07 p.m. on Jan. 6, 2022, an email was sent out to the entirety of the student body within the Timber Creek feeder pattern (Which includes TCHS, its two feeder middle schools, its singular intermediate school, and all six elementary schools). The email contained no headline, and the body of message was only one word- “hi”. This email was sent out by a TCHS student who used a public “send all” list. In doing so, a can of worms was opened. Initially, students began replying to the email with questions asking what was going on. This was woven with some comments to let the student know that they had created a giant group chat amongst the student body.

Then, in typical January 6 fashion, chaos ensued.

Students began sending memes, videos, photos, and more. The hallways at Timber Creek began to light up as what felt like the entirety of the school could be seen staring at their phones. A blend of laughter and confusion was heard across the school as students refreshed their page looking for the next email. 

“It was a little bit of a distraction,” said calculus teacher, Janessa Tucker. “It wasn’t bad and didn’t cause any big problems. But there were a few minutes of ‘Okay guys, I gotta get back to teaching.'”

Within minutes, Keller ISD’s IT team began trying to find a solution. After half an hour of chaos ensuing, the last confirmed email was estimated to be sent at 1:37 p.m. The district was able to halt the email and temporarily suspend all student emails.

The Follow-Up

For the days following the email, all student emails became inaccessible for all KISD students. If a student in KISD was trying to be contacted, the following message would appear:

“550 5.1.1 The email account that you tried to reach does not exist. Please try double-checking the recipient’s email address for typos or unnecessary spaces. Learn more at j6sor3106599pfj.45 – gsmtp”

Contacting Families

The effects of the emails reached all schools in the feeder patterns, and multiple schools sent out emails to the parents of children to inform them that they were approaching the problem with upmost speed. The following email was sent out to the parents of students at Caprock elementary school:

“Caprock Families,

At this time, all student email accounts have been disabled. Keller ISD Technology is aware and is working to resolve the situation. We will follow up with additional information as soon as possible.

Thank you,

Caprock Elementary School”

In addition to this, Principal Shawn Duhon released the following email to families of Timber Creek:

“TCHS Family,

We are aware of an incident that involved student emails in our Falcon Feeder pattern along with other KISD campuses email addresses. Please know that our District Technology department is working on this incident and has disabled ALL student emails for a short period of time until this situation is resolved.

We appreciate your patience,

M. Shawn Duhon (Principal, Timber Creek High School)”

In coordination, Keller ISD sent out the following email to all families in the Falcon pathway:

Keller ISD Families and Staff,

“Shortly before 2 p.m., District administrators were alerted about emails, which contained inappropriate content, circulating through the student user group for the Falcon Feeder pattern. Keller ISD’s Technology Department was immediately contacted and responded quickly by first disabling emails for the Falcon Feeder pattern. They have since also temporarily disabled all student email as the District investigates this situation. Keller ISD will update our families and staff once we have more information. Thank you for your patience and understanding as the District resolves this issue.”

Preventative Measures

When asked about what actions the district will do to prevent another chain mail going viral, assistant principal, James Johnson said, “That is still out there. We (the assistant principals) had a meeting this past Monday with district to talk about that, and they’re working on that right now. There’s currently an added security element to it, so it can’t be done by a student again. The district will let us know.”

By Cooper Gant

Cooper is a the current sports editor for the Talon. He is the current president of the German club and can found at school sporting events.