Louisiana School Suspends 45 Over Grade-Changing Hack

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A high school in Louisiana expelled one student and suspended 45 others over a grade-changing scheme that involved a simple computer compromise.
A high school in Louisiana expelled one student and suspended 45 others over a grade-changing scheme that involved a simple computer compromise.

Nearly four dozen students at a Louisiana high school have been suspended after school officials say the pupils changed their grades using a computer program.

Forty-five students at Beau Chene High School, located between the communities of Grand Coteau and Arnaudville, have been accused of using a teacher’s password to change their grades through a computer program called Powerschool over the course of six weeks.

One student was accused of being the ringleader of the grade-changing scheme, using the teacher’s credentials to change grades for himself and other students in exchange for money and — in a handful of cases — sexual favors, the Opelousas Daily World reported.

The principal of Beau Chene High said the student also lowered grades for peers he disliked. Some students did not know their grades had been changed; others who did were suspended, the school official said.

A concerned parent is said to have blown the whistle on the grade-changing scheme. Classmates interviewed by the newspaper said the student may have obtained the credentials after helping a substitute teacher log on to the Powerschool system using a username and password left by the absent teacher.

According to a television report, the teacher’s credentials gave the student access to the grade sheets of at least 20 other teachers. The student — who was not identified in news reports — was expelled while his co-conspirator classmates were suspended, a school board official told KLFY-TV.

It is unclear if the teacher, who was also not identified, would face any disciplinary measure. School officials told the newspaper that the district regularly reminds teachers to safeguard their credentials and watch out for “hacks” in the system.

The grade-changing system was the second to hit a Louisiana school in the past year.

Last April, a school in nearby Shreveport suspended 18 students after a similar grade-changing scheme was uncovered, the paper said.

Those students, who were seniors at the time, were allowed to re-take courses in which their grades were changed over the summer, a school official said. They were permitted to graduate at the end of the summer. A teacher who was linked to the grade-changing scheme no longer works at the school.

Teachers at Beau Chene High — which serves a student population of 815 — are taking precautions to ensure “this will never happen again,” a school official said.

It is not known if the expelled student will face any criminal charges.

Matthew Keys is a contributing journalist for TheBlot Magazine

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