More Suspensions in Stuyvesant Cheating Scandal

Stuyvesant High School will suspend 60 more students following a cheating scandal that erupted last spring.

A letter from interim acting principal Jie Zhang was sent to families late Friday stating:

"I am writing to inform you that as a result of information obtained from the on-going investigation into last June’s cheating involving end-of-year examinations at Stuyvesant, your child may be facing a suspension from school for up to five schools days. There are a large number of students involved and the school is in the process of scheduling and conducting suspension conferences. You will be provided with additional information and details once a final determination has been made with respect to your child."

The school discovered in June that a junior had used a cell phone to photograph questions on a few Regents exams, then shared them with dozens of other students during the tests. The students had to retake the tests over the summer.

Six students were already notified that they would be suspended this fall. The Department of Education says there was only enough evidence to suspend 66 out of 71 students who were initially investigated.

Of the 66 affected students, 12 are facing superintendent's suspensions. That means they can be taken out of the school for up to 10 days and sent to alternate learning centers. Their hearings are being held this week. The other 54 will get principal suspensions, meaning they can be removed from classes for up to five days.

Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott released this statement:

“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. I want to thank Principal Zhang for her assistance and for the steps she has already taken to restore academic integrity.”

The D.O.E. says 17 phones were confiscated from Stuyvesant students since classes started on Thursday. Cell phones are banned from the city's public schools. When a phone is found, the D.O.E. says it is marked with student identification and secured in an assistant principal’s office. A parent has to come to the school to pick up the phone.

Stuyvesant's principal retired in August and was replaced by Zhang. On Friday, she also sent a letter to all students saying they'll be involved in developing a new Honor Code. Students will also be assigned an Academic Honesty Policy on Monday that they'll have to sign with their families.

The policy says examples of academic dishonesty include:

Presenting the ideas of others (either by paraphrasing or direct quotation) without giving credit to the source. This applies equally to a single phrase or an entire essay.

Using secondary sources, even for research, if a teacher has instructed students not to do so.

Failing to provide adequate citations for material obtained through online sources.

Copying from someone else’s exam, paper, homework or lab.

Allowing someone to copy or submit one’s work as his/her own.

Using notes or other materials (including cell phones, calculators, computers, etc.) during an exam without authorization.

Submitting the same paper in more than one course without the knowledge and approval of the instructors involved.

Knowingly participating in a group project which presents plagiarized materials.

Giving answers to exam questions to another student or receiving answers to exam questions from another student.