January 20th, 2011
An alleged plot to cheat could mean felony charges for some local students. The allegations involve five Wellington High School seniors. Police believe they hacked into their district's computer system to change grades.
Now, the Wellington Police Department and the Wellington School District have each launched their own investigations.
Police say word of the alleged hacking started spreading through the high school, when it was reported to administrators. The district then reported the situation to police, who launched a criminal investigation.
"With technology, as easy as it is for a person to take a short cut, it's also that easy to get caught," said Wellington Police Sgt. John Defore, the lead detective on the case.
Students who have attended class with the suspects say they're surprised by the situation.
"People think of them as role models so why would they do that? And they're in sports so why would they jeopardize that?" said recent Wellington High School Graduate Leslie Klein.
"I'd be freaking out if I were them, but I think the school should just kind of forgive them for it and let them graduate," said Wellington High School student Austin Schoemann.
The school district says it's still investigating the situation, so it couldn't speak to the students' punishment.
"We're responding according to our policy, and that's our job and that's what we're going to try to do," said Wellington Schools Superintendent Rick Weiss.
As the district looks into alleged cheating, police are investigating whether the students committed a felony. Detectives believe the suspects used a special device to hack into the district's system.
"This is different, this isn't the kind of crime you see everyday," said Defore.
But police say it is a crime they are prepared to handle.
"I mean law enforcement in general sees these things happen more and more," said Defore.
Police say they expect charges in the case to be filed sometime next week.
5 Wellington High School seniors are under investigation after allegedly hacking into school computers and changing grades.
According to Wellington Police Chief Tracy Heath, his department was notified by the Wellington School District about the allegations.
Both the Police Department and the School District are conducting investigations.
No charges have been filed at this time.
Heath says this is the first time he has seen anything like this in his tenure at the Wellington Police Department.