February 6, 2010

Potomac students hack computer; Benz still ponders decision

A Montgomery County high school has begun disciplinary action against seven students who were allegedly involved in a computer-hacking scheme in which grades were changed, according to a letter sent home Friday by the school's principal.

Teachers at Churchill High School noticed last week that some students' grades had been changed in the school's online record system.

"We believe there is sufficient cause to move forward with disciplinary action," wrote Principal Joan C. Benz. She said further action against others may be taken as the investigation proceeds.

Benz said that the school in Potomac would hold a community meeting "in the coming weeks" to discuss the incident. She said that the Montgomery County state's attorney would decide whether to pursue criminal charges against the students.

Dana Tofig, a spokesman for the Montgomery County Public Schools, said that specifics about the charges and the punishment could not be released because of privacy laws. But the school system's rules say that computer abuse is punished with a minimum of loss of computer privileges and a maximum of expulsion and a police referral. Punishments for academic dishonesty range from a conference to expulsion.

SOURCE: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/05/AR2010020502356.html