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Berkeley High hit by student attendance computer-hacking scam

April 19, 2012 | 10:27 am

About 50 Berkeley High School students are facing suspension or expulsion after school officials said students gained access to a computer system and changed attendance records.

Nearly all the students will be suspended and a handful expelled, said principal Pasquale Scuderi.

In December, school officials discovered discrepancies in attendance records. They soon found that students had obtained passwords to the system and made changes to their records starting in October, Scuderi said.

Officials used computer IP addresses to track down those who hacked into the system. Students have admitted to officials that they made the changes to skip class without their parents knowing and to possibly get better marks in classes in which attendance is part of their grade.

The discovery was made before the school reported attendance records to the state for funding, giving officials times to correct the fabrications.

Because funding allotment is based in part on attendance, the skewed data could have cost the school tens of thousands of dollars had it been discovered by an outside auditor, Scuderi said.

“That would have been very problematic,” he said.

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-- Stephen Ceasar

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