71 Stuyvesant Students Accused of Cheating on Regents

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Officials have identified 71 students who they said were involved in cheating during the administering of state Regents exams at Stuyvesant High School last month, schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott disclosed on Monday.

In all of those cases, the exam results will be invalidated and the students involved will have to retake the tests, Mr. Walcott said during a radio interview with John Gambling on WOR-AM.

The cheating came to light after a cellphone was confiscated from one student during a city language exam on June 18 and found with text messages that suggested students had been sharing information about the exam.

The principal of Stuyvesant, which is one of New York City’s most prestigious public schools, sent a letter to parents of certain students outlining how the cheating could lead to penalties that could harm those students’ college admissions efforts.

On Monday, Mr. Walcott disclosed that administrators found that 70 students at the school, in Lower Manhattan, were involved in an electronic form of cheating: One student photographed the exam, he said, and 69 others received messages about the exam and responded.

Other details about the mechanics of the breach were not immediately available.

Additionally, administrators found that another student had cheated on the state Regents physics exam not by using a phone, but by passing notes.

That student and the student who used his phone to photograph the language test are each facing suspension, Mr. Walcott said, according a spokeswoman for the city’s Education Department.

How deeply cheating has become ingrained in the culture of Stuyvesant has been a topic of debate within the school's halls. An editorial in the school newspaper, The Spectator, two years ago pinpointed a culture of “academic dishonesty” whose roots stretched from an emphasis on numeric success, like high test scores, rather than on valuing learning that is not as easy to measure.

Mr. Walcott said he was outraged when he heard of the allegations of cheating.

Meanwhile, it was not immediately clear whether there was additional impact on the Regents tests or to what degree the students involved will face the forfeiture of school privileges.

Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that the cheating came to light after a phone was confiscated during a Regents exam on June 18. It was during a city exam.

Editor's Note: A more complete account of this news can be found here.