More than 50 Calif. high school students face suspension, expulsion after attendance scam

(CBS/AP) BERKELEY, Calif. - Dozens of students at Berkeley High School are facing suspension or expulsion after school officials say they got into a computer system and changed their attendance records.

Principal Pasquale Scuderi said Wednesday that 50 students will be suspended and two or three expelled. The scam apparently occurred after some students were able to obtain an administrative password to the system and then logged in and cleared absences and tardies for an undisclosed fee, according to local newspaper The Bay Citizen.

The changes to students' attendance records occurred between October and January and meant students could skip classes or school altogether without their parents knowing.

"The degree of involvement ranged from what we now know was a few students literally selling the clearance of absences to those who may have accepted having a few absences or tardies cleared by a friend or acquaintance who gained access," the principal said in a statement.

Scuderi said administrators discovered the scam just before spring break on April 2. Staff were reviewing student data when they realized there had been a breach, The Bay Citizen reported. They then went through the school's 3,200 students to determine who was involved. The school's attendance record went up to 94 percent during the first seven months of this school year, compared to 92 percent from the same period last year.