The Judson Independent School District board of trustees unanimously approved raises for staff starting next school year.
Officials with the district still do not know what information may have been compromised by hackers. Credit: Emily Donaldson / San Antonio Report

Judson Independent School District has hired a cybersecurity company to help with a suspected ransomware attack that has compromised the district’s information technology systems, Superintendent Jeanette Ball said Monday.

District staff remain unable to access to email or phone lines, according to a notice on the district’s website, which also states that it is unclear what information may have been accessed.

Judson ISD notified students and staff Friday of the intrusion.

School district officials contacted the FBI and state and local law enforcement officials after they found out about the cyber intrusion. Judson ISD also notified its insurance company, which is helping guide the district through this process, along with law enforcement, Ball said.

Ball said she understands the situation is frustrating for students, families, and staff and that the district is doing everything possible to remedy the problem and implement practices to prevent future cyberattacks. She said she is frustrated, too, because there isn’t much she can do.

“We understand that this is a huge inconvenience for our parents and for our staff, and we apologize to them for that,” she said. “We are fighting an unknown person or an unknown entity that we never see. You feel robbed.”

A notice pops up on the Judson ISD website alerting the community that their IT sysmtes are currently down due to a suspected ransomware attack Monday.
This is what visitors to Judson ISD’s website see when they try to access the site. Credit: Courtesy / Judson ISD

The suspected cyberattack occurred at 1:18 a.m. Thursday, Ball told school board members Friday morning. The board voted to give the superintendent emergency power to purchase services, supplies, and equipment to repair the district’s systems and restore operational functions. Ball said Judson ISD’s insurance company recommended the district hire a third-party contractor to determine the cause and extent of the intrusion.

The school board met again Saturday and remained in closed session except to vote to “proceed forward as discussed in closed session and allow the superintendent to conduct business appropriately.” Ball said the vote was to hire BlueVoyant, a cybersecurity company that “unfortunately” has a lot of experience with ransomware attacks. The board also approved hiring a communications company to inform people whose information was potentially breached by the intrusion.

To contact Judson ISD, email JISD.communications@gmail.com.

Brooke Crum

Brooke Crum is the San Antonio Report's education reporter.