Students Involved in Grade-Changing Scandal Could Face Criminal Charges

Filed under: In The News

Talk about your grade grubbing. Credit: Getty Images

That D-minus you got in Chemistry? Mom is going to be, like, soooo mad. You're totally going to be grounded for a month. No Xbox. No iPod. No (gasp!) cell phone. Dude. What're you gonna do?

Eight students at Maryland's Winston Churchill High School reportedly decided to take their grades into their own hands, and used a certain type of USB device to gather teachers' passwords and user IDs to change their grades and those of 46 of their classmates, according to The Washington Post.


And with the state's attorney now launching an investigation, the students are discovering that changing a few grades is a serious and, perhaps, criminal business. Three of the students "withdrew voluntarily" from the school, the Post reports, while the remaining five are facing disciplinary proceedings from the Montgomery County high school located in Potomac, north of Washington, D.C. All eight students may be facing criminal charges.

"We don't know the scope," Capt. Paul Starks, a Montgomery County police spokesman, tells the Post. "We're just beginning the investigation." He notes that "detectives are particularly interested in unauthorized use of computers, which can be a crime in Maryland."

Joan C. Benz, principal of Winston Churchill High School, a high-performing school with a 98 percent graduation rate, sent a letter to the families of its 700 students inviting parents to a public meeting and explaining how and why the school provided their children's grades to the state's attorney.

When the scandal was revealed in January, colleges with Churchill applicants expressed concern. However, seniors' grades apparently were not altered, the Post reports.

Related: When the Ivy Leagues Court the 'High School Musical' Generation

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.