High school grads suspected of cheating

ONTARIO Tuesday night is a big night for many students from Ontario High School, the culmination of years of hard work. But there's a bit of a cloud over the night's ceremony, because the school says that many of the kids that will walk across that stage will do so even though they may have cheated.

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The scam involves 75 to 80 kids at Ontario High School-students who were making up classes via an online program called NovaNET. Senior Fernando Flores says a couple of kids stole a password to the program from their teacher.

"Some people just got the codes and everything so they started hacking into the computers," said Flores.

Flores says he didn't cheat. But the school says two students who've been cited hacked the software, and changed dozens of students' grades. Some were reportedly paid up to $100 to have their grades changed.

"It's not fair for us to be in there for four years and just some people hack into the computers and change your grades," said Flores.

The school district just found out about this late last week. But now the clock is ticking. With graduation Tuesday night, there reportedly wasn't enough time for a thorough investigation.

"Absolutely there are some kids walking tonight who may not normally have walked, but we made the choice because of the timeline to err on the side of those few victims that might have been affected had we just carried the hard line with this," said Rod Hust, Ontario High principal.

Prinicpal Hust says because it's tough to tell which students may have graduated anyway without cheating, and which students may not have even known their grades were altered. They're giving most students the benefit of the doubt when it comes to graduating Tuesday night. But that doesn't mean cheaters will get away with it.

"None of them will receive their diploma until all credits are made, so a week from today they'll be reporting to us at 3 o'clock in the afternoon and an assessment will be made, and those students will be required to make up the courses," said Hust.

Those students allegedly involved will have to meet with the school principal next week, even though they may walk across the stage Tuesday night. The principal says changes are being made to the security of the online program for next year.

The two students involved were arrested and released, charged with very serious felony offenses.


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