In Great Neck, 2011 was marked by a major high school SAT cheating scandal that rocked the community and brought additional scrutiny to New York education law matters that were thrust into the limelight.
As Newsday reported recently, the teen who started the cheating scandal appeared on the CBS News show 60 Minutes to talk about his operation and how it flourished. These are issues that require a person skilled in addressing the rights of students and school districts who must combat this type of behavior.
Schools aren’t police departments and their means of investigation are much different. The rights they have are also different. In cases where a student is being accused of committing a crime, cheating or violating some school rule, they must have representation.
Time and time again, we see on the news an example of a child who gets suspended or expelled without a high standard of proof from school officials. These types of punishments — especially in high school as a student is preparing for college — can mar an otherwise solid record. And the consequences can include missing out on scholarships or having college admissions staff disqualify a student.
The 19-year-old mastermind of the plan, now a freshman at Emory University in Atlanta, told 60 Minutes that he heard of other students paying for grades, but he didn’t start doing it until a struggling student asked for his help. Because of relaxed security at testing sites — officials only ask for a school identification card — the plan went into effect.
As the scandal’s reach was revealed by investigators, criminal charges are now being levied. Officials say that 50 students have been implicated over four Long Island counties and include brokers who matched test takers with students. After three years of conducting the scandal, the teen was caught when test takers confessed.
CBS News reports that at least 20 students so far have been arrested as part of the Long Island scandal, while students in Atlanta, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and other areas have been implicated in similar scandals. Teachers are under pressure to ensure test scores remain high and hit certain marks, despite students who need more attention than others.
Schools are constantly under-funded to meet the demands placed on them by federal and state officials, which makes the situation all the more difficult. And colleges and universities are feeling the budget crunch, which is leading to fewer students being admitted. This puts pressure on students, who recognize the stakes and know that if they don’t get into the school of their choice, it could hurt their future.
It’s a tough cycle to break, but students who end up penalized by school officials without required proof must be stopped. These students require an education law attorney who can stand by their side.
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:
Great Neck SAT Cheating Scandal Requires Education Law Lawyer: October 31, 2011