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District: Students changed grades in computer system

December 18, 2013|By Jeremiah Dobruck

Students at Corona del Mar High School hacked into the school's computer system to change grades and access tests, according to the Newport-Mesa Unified School District.

Newport Beach police are investigating the incident, and the students could face criminal charges on top of disciplinary action from the school, the district said in a statement Wednesday evening.

"We are shocked and disappointed by the unethical and irresponsible behavior exhibited by the involved students," spokeswoman Laura Boss wrote. "These students made a conscious choice to sidestep the academic rigor of Corona del Mar High School."

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Boss said the district found out about the hacking Tuesday. She declined to say how many students were involved and did not respond to a question about how long they had access to the computer system.

Authorities still aren't sure how the students hacked in, but the district believes a private tutor gave them the equipment and training they used to access the records. Boss said there's no indication CdM employees were involved.

Teachers were dismayed when the school district held a meeting to inform them of the hacking Wednesday, calling the incident a violation of trust, according to Boss.

"Honesty and integrity are cornerstones of the quality educational program at CdM," she wrote. "The students engaging in this unlawful conduct have failed to meet those standards and should be ashamed of their behavior."

A Newport Beach police sergeant said he did not have details on the case, and a spokeswoman from the department did not return a voicemail late Wednesday.

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