Students Shocked by Pornographic Blood Bank Presentation

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Staff Journalist

More than 400 students from a high school in western Pennsylvania were watching a presentation on the importance of giving blood when the screen suddenly filled with X-rated homosexual pornography.

AOL News is reporting that the incident occurred during an assembly at Norwin High School in North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania on Friday. Students were watching a presentation by a Central Blood Bank employee about donating blood when the screen suddenly filled with hardcore images.

Apparently, the employee was using a portable flash drive on which he had stored both the presentation and a private collection of homosexual pornography. However, when the drive was plugged into the computer, he inadvertently clicked on the wrong file, causing several explicit images to appear on the school’s giant screen.

“It took a few seconds for people to process what was up there,” senior Chelsey Fix told the Pittsburgh Gazette.  “People were laughing, but the main thing was people were like, ‘I can’t believe this happened.'”

Student Ethan Dobranski told Channel 4 Action News that the images included “frontal male nudity, and there was one with, like, two people in there, but it was, like, from the back.”

Another student said the Blood Bank presenter was clearly embarrasssed. “That’s what popped up, but I don’t think [the Central Blood Bank employee] realized that was on there at the time, and he was truly embarrassed for what happened,” said Dan Jones to Channel 4. “He was just shocked. He, like, put his hand on the stage and covered his head. He was so ashamed of himself for having that.”

A school administrator quickly intervened and stopped the film. 

At first, the Blood Bank employee tried to continue with the presentation but it quickly became apparent that the students were not capable of paying attention after what had just happened. The presentation was cancelled and a second event planned for the junior class later in the day was cancelled.

The school sent a letter home to outraged parents, saying “We find this incident inexcusable and are taking every measure we can to ensure that the investigation is carried out with the utmost fidelity.”

Kent W. Oestreich, vice president and chief operating officer of the Central Blood Bank, said that the employee, who was not identified, ignored organizational policies requiring a supervisor’s review of a presentation and prohibiting the use of a flash drive. In a letter of apology sent to parents, he apologized for the “inappropriate material” shown to students and said the employee has been suspended pending an investigation. “Per organizational policy, employees are not allowed to use flash drives and are required to review their presentations in advance with their supervisor; in this situation, the employee ignored these policies,” the letter said.

School district officials also contacted the local police, who have launched an investigation and are conferring with Westmoreland County prosecutors to determine if any criminal charges are necessary because many of the students involved are minors.

At this point, it seems certain that the Central Blood Bank will be hit with a hefty lawsuit.

“They tell me it lasted about 30 seconds, which is a long time,” said attorney Peter J. Payne, who has been hired by parents of several students who attended the presentation. “Every parent that I’ve talked to is very concerned. We’re still talking about the senior class, but these kids are 17, 18 years old at the most.”

The status of the lawsuit is uncertain at this time, but one thing is for sure, students say they’ll never forget what happened in the assembly that day.

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