Dozens of Gadsden High School students caught changing grades; some won't graduate
Dozens of seniors at Gadsden High School will not graduate after district officials discovered that students hacked into online course system.
Luis Villalobos, spokesman for the Gadsden Independent School District, said 55 parents have been notified that their children participated in getting unauthorized access to the online program.
An investigation revealed that students had changed grades from February through April.
Villalobos said a total of 456 grades from various grade levels had been altered.
Of the 55 students found to be responsible for changing the grades, 29 were seniors and 26 other were either in 10th or 11th grade.
Five of the students were suspended and the others involved have various options to rectify their work, Villalobos said.
According to Villalobos, the seniors who participated in the changing of the grades will not graduate because the credit that might have been used toward graduation is now invalid.
Administrators went through logs in Edgenuity, the system students use to take online classes, and found date stamps and activity by those who accessed the account.
“The thing that surprises me is just the ability for those kids to get those passwords and be able to do this. It’s not fair,” a parent of a student at Gadsden said.
Villalobos said the system is available to teachers and students. Each person is given an access code that gives them unique access to the site.
It appears the students used a code that is normally assigned to a teacher, which allowed them to change the grades.
“They have to pay for their consequences not working hard and then just changing the grades off the computer like that. I actually knew someone that was there that actually did change his grades and now he’s not graduating,” Gadsden junior Omar Vargas said.
A meeting has been scheduled with the parents of the students affected.
“Students must realize that their actions have consequences. But we also want to give them an opportunity to correct their actions and do the work properly so that those who are seniors can qualify for their diplomas in the summer, and those underclassmen can correctly finish the courses they undertook on Edgenuity,” said Travis Dempsey, GISD superintendent.
“There’s some of us, like me, that work hard to get their A pluses and just to be able to change it like that, I don’t know, it’s just very unfair,” Vargas said.
The district said 5 out of the 55 students involved in changing grades were suspended from school.
We’re told 29 seniors involved will no longer graduate with their class as their credits are now invalid.
“Wearing the cap and gown is an honor, it’s a privilege to those who do complete their credits properly and with hard work,” a parent said.
The district is allowing the students involved to make up their work over the summer.
That’s when the 29 seniors can qualify to receive their diplomas.