A group of Stuyvesant High School students will have to retake their Regents exams following a cheating scandal that rocked the elite New York City public school last month, the New York Daily News reports.
Six of those students face suspensions -- five because of their connection to 16-year-old junior Nayeem Ahsan, who was expelled last month after he was caught using a cell phone to take pictures of the exams and distribute test answers to more than 50 classmates.
“Cheating has taken place for who knows how long,” Chancellor Dennis Walcott said in a radio appearance Monday. “People have the ability to use new technology to try to cheat. So people are always trying to think of new ways to do things. It’s not acceptable. We’re not going to tolerate it.”
According to the Daily News, the chancellor emphasized that cheating is a major reason why cell phones are prohibited in city schools. However, recent Stuyvesant graduate Madeline S. Rivera told the New York Times that “as long as they are out of sight and out of mind,” the ban on bringing phones inside is not enforced.
Education Department officials said the majority of students who received and responded to incriminating text messages from Ahsan are juniors who will have to retake a citywide Spanish, U.S. history, English or Physics Regents exam. Almost every Stuyvesant student passes the U.S. history and English exams, according to the Times.
The students can retake the tests as soon as August.
Officials also said that the suspensions can appear on the students’ permanent records, but the voided exam will not.
According to the Times, school Principal Stanley Teitel sent a letter to dozens of students implicated in the cheating ring last month, notifying them that some of their class privileges -- including the right to leave school for lunch or be members of the Student Union -- would be revoked.
Walcott said his office is looking into whether Teitel and his staff handled the scandal appropriately.
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