After transitioning to a new web address, the high school's old domain was purchased and held for "ransom," according to a letter sent to parents and community members by Tooele High School Principal Jeffrey Hamm.
"We want you to know that every effort is being made into regaining access to the tooelehigh.org domain through the District to ensure that Tooele High School's good name and reputation are not sullied by redirecting our patrons to a site that is clearly not affiliated with our school," Hamm wrote.
Hamm said in his letter that school administrators knew the address would expire as part of the transition to a new website. But he wrote that parents had been caught off-guard attempting to access the old site, when instead they were redirected to risque content on TheChive.com, which describes itself as "probably the best site in the world."
"Everyone needs to be aware that it could be a lengthy process to reclaim the site, block the site, and/or get it shut down entirely," Hamm wrote.
Tooele County School District spokeswoman Marie Denson said the domain's new owner purchased it legally and controls its content.
District administrators contacted the new owner to ask about buying back tooelehigh.org, Denson said, but were told it would cost $9,800 a cost the district is not willing to pay.
Instead, she said, the district will focus on alerting parents and community members to the high school's new location online at tooelehigh.tooeleschools.org.
"That's a very large amount of money," Denson said. "At this point, we need to do an information campaign to our community."
Denson said some visitors are likely to return to the old website out of habit, but over time the district hopes parents, students and community members will adjust to the new domain.
"I would hope that if a parent went to that site out of habit and saw what was on there, they would immediately go 'that's not right' and go to the district to find the new website."