Local News

Students' Cheating Scheme Uncovered

Posted February 25, 2008 3:43 p.m. EST
Updated February 26, 2008 10:58 a.m. EST

— School administrators are investigating a cheating scheme that they say has been years in the making at Chapel Hill High School.

In an e-mail sent to parents last Thursday, Principal Jackie Ellis said students used a copied master key to the campus to go through teachers' offices to obtain copies of tests and answer keys that they then shared with other students.

"I was in great shock,” Chapel Hill High School student Fangyuan Chang said. "All my teachers talked about it in class."

Students passed around copies of answers to at least one test and at least one copy of the answer key was sent via a cellular phone, Ellis said.

"Am I supposed to like take my daughter's cell phone every day and go through it to make sure she's not receiving these kind of messages?” parent Danielle Council asked.

Ellis said in the e-mail that several years ago, students got the key and have passed it down as each class graduated.

"Evidently, a large number of students were aware that this was happening and remained silent," the principal wrote.

“At what point do we as parents, or even other kids, stand up and say OK, enough is enough, you know? There's just no reason for all this dishonesty,” Council said.

"Perhaps, if we (teachers/administration) had heard about this sooner, fewer students would have been involved in it and fewer students, teachers and parents would have been hurt in this whole unfortunate ordeal," Ellis said in her e-mail.

All exterior school doors are in the process of being re-keyed, Ellis said. New master keys will be issued to only a few people.

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools spokeswoman Stephanie Knott said some students were disciplined, however, she said she didn't know how many or the type of punishments given.

Groups of students from area schools are also talking about the incident and ways to prevent it from happening again, Knott said.

WRAL tried to interview Ellis Monday, but she was unable to accommodate the request.