COSTA MESA (CBSLA.com) — A Newport-Mesa Unified School District administrator has resigned over the district’s handling of a cheating scandal in which 11 high school students were expelled.
Jane Garland said in an internal email that the NMUSD’s response to the scandal was a “farce” and that the students did not get due process prior to their expulsion.
The disciplinary action came on Jan. 28 at a closed-door Board of Education meeting.
The unidentified students were accused in December of hacking into computers to change grades and access tests at Corona Del Mar High School in Newport Beach.
Garland, a 13-year district employee who oversaw discipline, told the OC Register that the district picked the “first 12 children named and put them out there to be the poster children of cheating so that they (district officials) could feel they had solved a problem.”
The 66-year-old said the students had varying level of involvement, ranging from breaking into the school to just know about the scheme.
Parents of the expelled students say their children were “thrown to the wolves” and that the scandal actually involved more than 100 students. Private tutor Timothy Lai was also accused of helping the accused students hack into computers and manipulate grades.
Lai, who Garland blamed for a majority of the scheme, is wanted by police for questioning, but has been missing since detectives showed up at his Irvine home with a search warrant on Dec. 18.
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