3 Calif. students arrested for grade tampering 

Three Palos Verdes High School juniors were arrested Thursday as police investigate a burglary related to an alleged grade-tampering scheme.

The teens are accused of repeatedly breaking into classrooms late at night, hacking into four teachers' computers and changing their grades online, according to The Daily Breeze of Torrance (http://bit.ly/A7HQjT).

The teens also stole hard copies of tests from teachers' desks, figured out the answers, then sold them and the actual exams to classmates before the tests were given, said Palos Verdes Estates police Sgt. Steve Barber.

Principal Nick Stephany says up to 12 students might be implicated in grade-tampering or receiving stolen tests. Two have already been recommended for expulsion, others were suspended for receiving stolen tests and information.

"They were very bright kids," Stephany told the paper. "They were in AP and honors classes. Am I shocked? Yeah. Definitely by the extent of it. None of these kids had any real trouble before."

The alleged tampering began several months ago after the students picked the lock to a janitor's office, stole a master key and used it to get into several classrooms.

The teens are accused of attaching devices called "keyloggers" to the USB connectors on the computers, which tracked teachers' keystrokes as they typed in usernames, passwords and other confidential information, said Barber.

The teens are accused of breaking into classrooms as many as 20 times.

Teachers who also keep handwritten grade books are verifying online transcripts for the campus' 1,700 students.

School locks will have to be changed and security will be tightened on district computer networks, said Stephany.

"This wasn't a very cunning crime. They didn't outsmart everybody," Stephany said. "These kids would have been going to a very good college without any academic dishonesty. That's the sad part about it."


Information from: Daily Breeze, http://www.dailybreeze.com

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