Students caught cheating at Cary's Panther Creek

Posted May 3, 2012 5:45 p.m. EDT
Updated May 4, 2012 3:12 p.m. EDT

— A junior at Cary's Panther Creek High School has been suspended and four others placed in detention after they were caught on a social networking site talking about a test, a spokeswoman for the Wake County Public School System said Thursday.

Cris Mulder, chief of family and public engagement for the Wake County Public School System, said that one of the students took a picture of a test and either sent it over email or by text message to the other students.

She would not say what kind of test it was.

Another student noticed the online conversation and reported it to school administrators.

The student who took the photo was suspended for five days, while the other students received detention, Mulder said.

Some of the students are in advanced classes and rank in the top 10 percent of the junior class.

One of them was also removed from the National Honor Society, although Mulder did not say which one. The national organization recognizes outstanding high school students who have demonstrated excellence in the areas of scholarship, leadership, service and character.

"The competition to get into the university system, the rigor, has increased, and I think there's a tremendous amount of pressure on kids," Ruth Steidinger, senior director of middle school programs for the school district, said. "This is an example of good kids making bad decisions."

Mulder said that school system policy dictates that the students be given a chance to take a similar test, and that grade will be factored into their overall grade.

Word of the cheating scandal has spread through school, and the students say it paints a bad picture of the rest of the students at Panther Creek.

"I don't like to hear that kind of stuff. What happens is there's stuff that goes on and then they tighten up on all the regulations and they make more rules so it ruins a lot of stuff for kids who don't do it," junior Jake Carr said.

Wake County schools Superintendent Tony Tata on Friday said he supported the principals decision to punish the students with suspension and detention.