BILLINGS — Students spend a lot more time in front of screens than they did years ago, but generally that time isn't spent watching soap operas at school.
Parent Nicole King learned about a seemingly weekly occurrence at Billings Senior High School just last week from her son.
"It's inappropriate content to be played on a public-school television... There was steamy content, cringey content is how he initially termed it, on the televisions at lunch," said King on Tuesday.
She mentioned that with technology kids are exposed to a lot of things but school is a place where there should be restrictions.
"It’s not like he’s unaware of sexual content out there it’s just not appropriate to be on a school television," King added.
New Billings School District 2 Superintendent Erwin Garcia says the district is now investigating. He says they're trying to learn how the channels were changed. Programming is normally set to either CNN or Nickelodeon.
"Based on the fact that the remote controls were not handy to the students and somehow the channel was changed, gives us the indication that someone gained access to the TV through our network and be able to change the channel," said Garcia.
Garcia says smart phones connected to the same network as the TV’s provide openings for outside interference. He says he’s confident staff at the school wasn’t knowingly letting students watch the content.
"No adult wanted to put kids in a position where they wanted to see a romantic scene on TV. That’s not the case.... We are disconnecting the TVs until further notice until we figure out what’s going on," added Garcia.
King said while she's happy the district is taking action to prevent this from happening again. The fact that it was reoccurring and unnoticed is an issue, she said.
"It’s not an isolated incident. It’s been occurring for a while, and nobody has changed the channel or interrupted that..... I don’t really see any reason for TV programming. Kids are in front of screens enough. If they want to have good experiences, good community, good communication for kids, get them talking to each other don’t have them sit there watching TV," said King.