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NY Lawmaker Wants to Strenghten Education Laws For Great Neck Cheating Students

A state lawmaker is trying to figure out a way to adjust New York education law in order to punish students for cheating.

In the wake of the Great Neck SAT cheating scandal that officials have determined was going on for several years throughout Long Island, many officials are looking into the problem.
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As we previously reported on our Great Neck education law blog, one teen, now a student at Emory University in Atlanta, devised a scheme where he would take Scholastic Aptitude Tests for students in exchange for money. The plan went so far as boys dressing as girls in order to get into testing sites where they could take the test for another person. It fell apart, the teen told 60 Minutes recently, when some of the test-takers were caught and confessed.

Newsday is reporting that Sen. Kenneth LaValle, R-Port Jefferson, said that the recent arrests of 20 past and present students is cause for concern. He wants tougher enforcement measures put in place for students taking tests in order to determine their eligibility. Prosecutors have previously said that the victims in the scandal were honest test-taking students who were overshadowed by cheating students.

The senator wants to overhaul a 20-year-old law that gives students accused of misconduct in taking the college entrance exam legal protection. LaValle, head of the state Senate Higher Education Committee, said he wants to make one-of-a-kind changes.

The committee will be meeting to discuss potential changes, including increased test security and increases in criminal penalties for those found guilty of cheating. He believes new legislation that would deal with exam fraud will be drafted this winter.

The senator didn’t provide many specific changes he wants to make, but told Newsday he wants to change a section of the law that provides legal due process for those accused of cheating. Students whose scores are invalidated can have the test fees refunded, retake the test or seek legal arbitration. The senator has said he wants to amend the 1992 law to reduce students’ rights.

The law was put in place to protect students from having the stigma of cheating surround them if they are accused. Some officials argue that colleges and universities should be told if a student was caught or accused of cheating.

Students who are accused of cheating, without relevant proof, shouldn’t have their futures destroyed because of school officials’ allegations. If students are accused of cheating and then re-take the test and pass, why should universities be informed that school officials made a mistake? Students require rights so that their futures can remain bright.

These laws were enacted for a reason. In fact, they went into place after an incident in Los Angeles where 12 students were asked to retake an AP calculus test after suspected cheating. When all 12, who were students of teacher Jamie Escalante, passed, their experience was made into the move “Stand and Deliver.” The New York law was put into place based on that situation, which got much attention.

The Law Offices of Ira S. Newman provides education law counsel in New York City, Long Island, Great Neck and throughout the area. Call 516-487-7375 or contact us through the website.

More Blog Entries:

As Great Neck SAT Cheating Scandal Rages On, Education Law Experts Required: January 5, 2012
Additional Resources:

Sen. Kenneth LaValle: change law for cheating students, by John Hildebrand, Newsday