4 juniors caught cheating with cellphones

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Four students were caught using their cellphones to spread photographs of a CP Chemistry exam last month.

Members of the Safety School Ambassadors and students from the class anonymously reported the incident to the administration Oct. 16, one day after students from chemistry teacher Tracy Foster’s odd-day classes completed the test.

Students took photos of their tests during a short break and quickly spread them through group chats, according to Assistant Principal Bryan Martin. Martin is in charge of overseeing violations to the Academic Honesty Policy, which addresses all forms of cheating.

We aren’t naïve. We do not think that this is the sole incident that has ever happened, but this is one that we found out about,”

— Bryan Martin

Administrators have the right to search students’ phones when inappropriate matter is suspected. However, according to Martin, administrators have only limited access to any messages, photos or files that have been deleted.

“By the time another student was taken out two minutes [later], somebody in the class of the first student had sent a text to everybody [involved] saying, ‘erase everything,’” Martin said.

Despite these limitations, Martin was able to identify the students at the origin of the incident, but could not identify the students who received the photograph.

The incident is one of a growing number in which cellphones are replacing traditional cheating methods, Martin said.

Oak Park Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Tony Knight commented on this trend.

“Now, [cheating] may be transpired electronically [when] before it was done verbally,” Knight said.

Martin noted that teachers and administrators are unaware of most cheating incidents.

“We aren’t naïve. We do not think that this is the sole incident that has ever happened, but this is one that we found out about,” Martin said. “I also know that a lot of what occurred in the incident is the tip of the iceberg.”

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