Two high school seniors in New Jersey, including one running for a school board seat, have been arrested on charges they stole a teacher’s computer password and used it to change students’ grades.
Eighteen-year-olds David A. Scarth and Ryan J. Hakim were arrested April 1 at Hopatcong High School and charged with computer theft.
Scarth was a candidate in Hopatcong’s April 20 school board election.
Police said school officials became suspicious when they discovered someone had logged on to the computer of a teacher who was absent that day. The person on the computer made inquiries about grades for the third marking period.
A vice principal then went to the teacher’s classroom and found the students using the computer, said Superintendent Wayne Threlkeld.
Threlkeld said the two students obtained the teacher’s password by watching while she worked on her computer.
He said the number of altered grades was still being determined. A cross-checking system would have flagged the altered grades, preventing them from becoming real grades, Threlkeld said.
Scarth and Hakim were suspended for nine days and were scheduled to appear in municipal court before press time.
The computer theft charge is a fourth-degree disorderly persons offense in New Jersey, punishable by up to 18 months in jail and fines up to $10,000.