By Kelsey Givens
A problem with the Nye County School District’s website email system may be to blame for the district’s unresponsiveness to a warning about a potential child abuse situation involving an employee later charged with possession of child pornography.
According to a letter Superintendent Dale Norton read to the board of trustees last week at its regular meeting, an investigation into the reason he did not receive an email from the mother of a Peoria, Ariz. girl who was an alleged victim of Perry Hood, a northern Nye County school psychologist, was due to an issue with the set-up of his on-site email address.
Questions over the system arose after the Peoria girl’s mother told the Pahrump Valley Times in February that she had emailed the superintendant about possible child abuse involving Hood several days before reporting the alleged abuse to police.
The woman said she became more and more concerned about how seriously the district was taking this case after she hadn’t received any communication from the superintendant after six weeks in response to her warning.
When asked about the email last month, Norton said he never received it, but planned to look into why such an important piece of communication never made it to his inbox.
An investigation was subsequently conducted by the district’s technology department, where it was discovered employees, like Norton, who have been entered into the website on more than one occasion with more than one email address can not be accepted by the system.
The issue usually arises in cases where employees, like Norton, who have held multiple jobs within the district, have been submitted into the system under multiple addresses.
Prior to holding the position of superintendent, Norton was the assistant superintendent for the district and prior to that served as principal to three different Pahrump schools and the Amargosa Valley Elementary and Middle School, where he began his career with the district.
On the NCSD website, which is hosted by a company called SchoolinSites, visitors can click on a link that opens an in-site messaging option, which allows them to send a message directly from the site, rather than having to copy and paste an address into their own email program.
In order for email links to users who have been entered under multiple email addresses to work, the tag mailnot.com must reportedly be added to their username to correct the problem.
When the technology department tested the superintendent’s alternative website email address, they reportedly discovered it had not been re-routed to make contact with his actual district-issued address.
“After testing Mr. Norton’s email on the website last week, it was discovered that his alternate email account had not been re-routed to make contact with his original email account. The re-routing was inadvertently missed, or never reported at the time the alternate email was created,” the report Norton read stated.
The district is currently working with SchoolinSites to re-program the system and fix the problem to avoid losing any further emails sent through the website to employees.