The mechanics of a cheating scandal that's ensnared 71 students at New York's prestigious Stuyvesant High School were simple: Take cell-phone pictures of Regents exams, distribute via text, repeat. It was that reliance on banned hardware and the built-in record of who'd sent and received the purloined answers that spread the blame so widely among the student body. The school accused just one student, Nayeem Ahsan, of organizing the cheating ring and another 69 of helping him. One other student was busted in an unrelated case. Ahsan will have to transfer to another school, The New York Post reported Monday.
Because the scam relied on using a cell phone -- a piece of equipment banned outright in city schools, as The New York Daily News' Rachel Monahan reminds us -- it was extremely easy for Ahsan to get caught. Just having a phone on you is enough to get it confiscated and searched, which is exactly what happened to him. That one other kid? He got caught cheating the old-fashioned way: Passing notes, on paper, during the Regents physics exam. There's no word on who he was passing notes with because note paper doesn't store a record of who's handled it.
For most of the students, the situation is the same: Their names were found in Ahsan's phone, after he allegedly took pictures of exams, texted them to his fellow students, and had the answers mailed back to him. The Post reported in June that Ahsan had been "busted with a cellphone full of answers to three tests while taking the June 18 Spanish Regents exam," and that other students said he "had also distributed answers to the recent Physics Regents exam." Principal Stanley Teitel went through Ahsan's phone personally, The Post's Amber Sutherland and Yoav Gonen reported at the time.
In addition to Ahsan and the kid busted in the physics exam, who was suspended, 69 students will have their Regents exam results nullified, The Post and The New York Times reported. They face disciplinary action, with their social privileges -- participating in clubs and sports, and seniors going off-campus for lunch -- revoked. It's going to be a tense summer in many Stuy households, we're guessing.