An Alabama high school is in the unpleasant position of not being able to finish end-year school rankings after they’ve discovered that someone has been hacking into their IT network and changing grades since 2016.
The incident has been reported at the W.S. Neal High School in East Brewton, Escambia County, Alabama. The Alabama Board of Education and Escambia County Board of Education are investigating, according to local news station WKRG, who first broke the story.
The issue came to light when school administrators were finalizing the end-of-year top 10 list of best-performing students. Administrators found inconsistencies in student grades.
Some grades appear to have been changed going back as far as 2016, according to a mother of one of the school’s students, who spoke with local news.
The investigation is bound to take a lot of time, and school officials said they wouldn’t be naming a valedictorian (highest-ranked student) and salutatorian (second-highest-ranked student) for this year’s graduating class, set to receive their diplomas in two weeks, on May 22.
School officials are now investigating some of the students whose grades appear to have been changed. The school said it would not be releasing any info on the investigation until it’s complete.
"It’s some shady stuff going on around here. So you mean to tell me that Neal [High School] isn’t going to have a Valedictorian or a Salutatorian due to a student changing their grades???!!!!," Monica Fountain, one of the parents wrote on Facebook. "We better start holding these kids accountable for their actions because we are only producing grown criminals. Stop putting bandaids on sores that need air!!!"
This is not the first case where students have hacked school systems to change grades. Such events are happening almost on a monthly basis across the world, not only the US.
Similar events have happened at a New Jersey high school, at a Louisiana high school, at a New York high school, at a Pennsylvania high school, at an Arizona high school, at Kansas University, University of Iowa, Israel, and China, just to name a few.