Gallup looks to change school policy after cheating scandal

Created: 01/21/2014 10:27 PM
By: Jen Samp, KOB Eyewitness News 4

It's considered the biggest academic fraud the Gallup School District has ever seen, yet there was no specific policy for it.

“We have a policy in place, but that policy doesn't address that particular concern.”

That concern Board Member Titus Nez is talking about is when a student got into a computer system and changed the grades for 30 other classmates at Miyamura High School.

“This whole thing started with a student looking over a teacher's shoulder,” he said.

Teachers say alleged mastermind then threatened to fail others when they didn't pay up.

Sherina Sam was the only student expelled but she argues the punishment doesn't fit the crime and is seeking legal counsel.

"The other students got a slap on the wrist," she said. "The only thing I can do is online high school or a GED, which is the last thing I wanted to do but I really have no choice."

“The student knew what she was getting herself into,” Nez said.

He says the current code of conduct just tells the student not to look at certain websites and to protect their passwords.

He says the student was expelled for cyber-bullying and cheating.

He wants a new policy that will address academic fraud, which could involve criminal charges.

Gallup parents say a policy should have already been in place.

“Kids should know that cheating isn't right,” said Mayda Bravo.

“I agree with the school board I feel like it should be a strict punishment if caught cheating. Victor Villalobos said. “Cheating should not be allowed.”

The school board could vote on the new policy in March.

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