11 high school students disciplined for keylogging teachers’ computers

Cyrus Farivar has the update to the case of students involving in hacking  to change grades at Corona del Mar High School:

A hacking scandal involving keyloggers and electronic grade-changing at a high school in Newport Beach, a well-to-do area of Southern California, has resulted in the expulsion of 11 students. TheOrange County Register reported Wednesday that six of those students had already left the district, but five had been transferred to another local school.

“The Board’s action imposes discipline upon these students for the maximum allowed by the Education Code for what occurred at Corona del Mar High School,” Laura Boss, the Newport Mesa Unified School District spokesperson wrote in a statement on Wednesday.

Read more on Ars Technica.

So far, I haven’t read any mention of whether the tutor, who is a “person of interest” in the case, allegedly received any money for providing the keyloggers. It’s obvious what the students might have hoped to get out of cheating – higher grades and access to upcoming tests – but what did the tutor get?

According to the coverage in the Orange County Register, the students’ disciplinary records will be destroyed, so it sounds like they are being given some kind of second chance. And hopefully, the district will harden its IT security to make such compromises less likely in the future.

But this is one of those cases where FERPA is going to frustrate the hell out of parents of other students who understandably want answers as to the board’s decision-making, and the board will tell them that FERPA prohibits them from disclosing more information about individual students.

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