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Memo Stirs Pot In High School Cheating Scandal - Education News Story - KNSD | San Diego

Memo Stirs Pot In High School Cheating Scandal

SAN DIEGO -- A blistering e-mail about student cheating from an administrator at Rancho Bernardo High School is angering some students and parents.

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The e-mail was written by Rancho Bernardo High School Assistant Vice Principal Keith Koelzer and dated Saturday, April 26. It gives the details of a cheating scandal involving eight students accused of hacking into the school's computer network.

"Our worse technological nightmare has just occurred," Koelzer wrote.

According to Koelzer, the hackers distributed tests to students several days before they were administered and altered grades on student transcripts.

But does the e-mail go too far? In his letter, Koelzer also mentioned the funeral service of a former Rancho Bernardo student who was killed in a car accident several weeks ago. And he questioned the moral character of students.

"Our students need us now more than ever to direct their moral compasses northward," Koelzer said in the e-mail.

The Poway Unified School District is referring all media inquiries about the principal's e-mail to the district's lawyer. Attorney Jack Sleeth told NBC 7/39 that at issue is whether the e-mail violated any student's right to privacy, and the legal issues surrounding potential disciplinary action for those students. He said the student hackers have been suspended while the incident is investigated. Penalties for the students could include expulsion.

All students are required to review and sign the district's Academic Honesty policy and Student Internet Safety and Responsible Use policy, Sleeth said. Violations of the policies could result in disciplinary action, including financial restitution.

Bernard Kohan, a computer security expert with Comentum Corporation, said the school bears a degree of responsibility for not providing enough security for its computer network.

"It's unbelievable. It should be very difficult," he said. "It shouldn't be easy to break into a system if there are enough security protocol in place to prevent anyone from hacking into the system."

The district lawyer would not talk to NBC 7/39 on camera until a technology team can determine the full scope of the cheating scandal.

Memo Stirs Pot In High School Cheating Scandal - Education News Story - KNSD | San Diego

Court rules in favor of T-shirt


Court rules in favor of T-shirt

Jeff Johnson - OneNewsNow - 5/5/2008 6:00:00 AM

justice A federal appeals court is upholding a student's right to wear a T-shirt that promotes a Christian viewpoint on the issue of homosexuality. 

One day after the pro-homosexual "Day of Silence" in 2007, administrators at Neuqua Valley, Illinois, High School ordered senior Heidi Zamecnik to cover the message "Be Happy, Not Gay" on her T-shirt -- although students had been allowed to wear T-shirts with messages celebrating homosexuality the previous day.
But Attorney Nate Kellum with the Alliance Defense Fund says Heidi and another plaintiff, Alex Nuxoll, are pleased with the decision from the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to allow such shirts. "He's able to use the T-shirt stating, 'Be Happy, Not Gay,' as a way of communicating his firm Christian belief that homosexual behavior does not lead to happiness," says Kellum.
Kellum notes public school officials have to understand that if they allow some students to publicly express their viewpoint on an issue, they must allow other students to voice differing opinions on the same topic.

Court rules in favor of T-shirt (

RANCHO BERNARDO: Six high school students suspended during cheating investigation


Rancho Bernardo teens allegedly hacked into computer, changed grades

RANCHO BERNARDO ---- Six Rancho Bernardo High School students were suspended Monday for allegedly hacking into a campus computer system to change their grades and to access tests, a district official said Tuesday.

The students will remain suspended pending completion of a district investigation, Poway Unified School District spokeswoman Sharon Raffer said.

The hacking appears to have been isolated to the Rancho Bernardo campus, one of five high schools in the Poway Unified School District.

Raffer declined to name the suspended students and to provide details on how they allegedly hacked into the school's system. She also declined Tuesday to say how the school discovered that its computer system had been hacked.

"The police have been notified and we will review the results of the high school's investigation," Raffer said. "That's really all that I can say."

Students and parents in Poway Unified are required to sign both an academic honesty policy and an Internet and technology use agreement at the start of school each fall, she said. In both policies, the district has outlined consequences for cheating on tests, forgery, the alteration of materials and the inappropriate use of computer or technology equipment on campus.

The consequences for each offense depend on the situation. Typically, a cheating incident at the high school level could result in a parent-teacher meeting, a failing grade on the assignment or exam, or other school-site actions.

Raffer said that in this particular case, though, the gravity of the incident called for stricter discipline.

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RANCHO BERNARDO: Six high school students suspended during cheating investigation : North County Times - Californian