66 teens face suspension in Stuyvesant scandal

September 7, 2012 5:16:19 PM PDT
Sixty-six students at the city's elite Stuyvesant High School face possible suspension for cheating on state Regents tests, the principal told parents Friday in the latest fallout from a scandal that roiled the highly regarded school as the school year ended.

"As we said at the start of this investigation, we have zero tolerance for cheating or academic dishonesty of any kind, and the students involved in this incident will now face disciplinary action," Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott said in a statement.

The imbroglio began when a student was caught using his cellphone to photograph his Regents exam and sending the shots to dozens of fellow students in June. That student has been suspended, and 65 others face either five-day or 12-day suspensions.

In an email to parents Friday, Stuyvesant Principal Jie Zhang said the school was in the process of scheduling and conducting suspension conferences, and families would get more information once final determinations were made.

The potential suspensions are not the first penalty meted out over the cheating episode at Stuyvesant, which requires students to take a specialized test to gain admission. In July, schools officials announced that 70 students would be banned from some student groups and lose privileges, such as having lunch off campus.

Meanwhile, Stuyvesant is cracking down on student phones. They aren't allowed in city schools, but the rule is widely ignored in schools that don't have metal detectors.

Stuyvesant has confiscated 17 phones in the first two days of this school year, officials said.

Students in New York state must pass Regents tests in at least five subjects to graduate with a Regents diploma.

Cheating was an issue even before the cellphone era. A scandal involving illegal answer keys in 1974 led education officials to halt tests in nine subjects statewide.

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