Dixon school administrators say at least three students have been suspended for their involvement in a computer hacking scheme to change their grades.
Dixon High senior Juan Ambriz, 18, was arrested on a felony data breach charge and has been released on $15,000 bail.
It was the talk of campus Friday by students who couldn’t believe it happened.
“He’s a sweet guy, he gets along with everybody so it was shocking hearing that he did something like this,” said senior classmate Sierra Harris.
“We got some kids who got into something dumb and wrong here,” Dixon Schools Superintendent Brian Dolan said.
A teacher noticed the changes earlier this week and a subsequent investigation showed that nine teacher accounts were hacked and 200 grades were changed since January. Thirty-two students benefited from the changes. Some small changes were almost insignificant, but others scores had significant changes made that altered their grade standings.
Some heard grades were changed without the knowledge of the students who benefited. School officials say all 32 beneficiaries of grade changes will be interviewed to see gauge their involvement.
They say some parents want their child’s name cleared while others are concerned that their involvement might prevent them from graduating in three weeks. And their are implications beyond getting a diploma.
“I heard a few people got accepted into the Army and Ivy league schools and if you got rejected after you got accepted, that’s crazy,” student Lily Stormont said.
Dixon Police Chief John Cox say the investigation may lead to other arrests if suspects are 18 years old or older.
“We’re looking at potential charges of conspiracy against those persons,” said Cox.
Dolan said there is considerable pressure to have the investigation conclude quickly, especially since scholastic awards dinners and other events lead up to the June 6 graduation.
But he says that pressure won’t hurry their investigation or prevent them from giving suspected students due process.
While saying district officials and teachers feel let down and betrayed, he isn’t willing to paint students with a broad brush.
“I believe in our kids, love our kids and also realize they are kids and will make mistakes,” said Dolan.