State Senator: Parents Were Involved In Long Island SAT Cheating Scandal

Sources: More Than A Dozen Students Will Turn Themselves In Tuesday

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — As many as 13 students are expected to surrender Tuesday morning to face charges in Nassau County’s expanding SAT scandal.

The cheating scandal first surfaced at Great Neck North High School in September.

Sources said both test takers and those who paid imposters to take the SAT or ACT for them are expected to turn themselves in. They have all hired lawyers, reports CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan.

1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reports

Sources tell 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera this next wave of arrests will include current and former students of Great Neck South High School, Roslyn High School, North Shore Hebrew Academy High School and St. Mary’s High School in Manhasset.

Dr. Dan Brenner, Roslyn’s superintendent of schools, said in a statement, “Individuals who may have cheated on college entrance exams bear sole responsibility for their actions.”

He added that the district does not tolerate cheating and is vigilant in protecting the integrity of the academic process.

Brenner said the school has “fully cooperated with the Nassau County District Attorney’s investigation into cheating on college entrance exams” but noted that the tests are administered by private organizations and that school districts have no direct involvement with the exams.

“Schools provide an exam site for the convenience of their students and as a courtesy to the testing organizations,” Brenner said. “All arrangements to ensure security and for the integrity of exam results rest entirely with them.”

A statement from the Diocese of Rockville Centre on behalf of Saint Mary’s High School indicated that one of their students is under investigation and that the school is cooperating with law enforcement.

The Great Neck School District also released a statement saying they do not tolerate cheating and are cooperating with law enforcement.

“It is our hope that the actions currently being taken by the District Attorney’s Office will serve to bring an end to any dishonest practices which may have placed students at an unfair disadvantage and will also bring to light any shortcomings in the security of the SAT testing system,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, State Sen. Ken Lavalle, chairman of the Higher Education Committee, which is investigating the SAT scandal, says new laws may include sanctions against parents.

“There are parents that are complicit in this. They are involved. You can’t tell me that students are walking around with $3,500, or $2,500, or $1,200. That’s a lot of money, and that means the parents were involved,” Sen. LaValle said.

LaValle, chairman of the Committee on Higher Education, initiated hearings into Long Island’s cheating scandal. On the cusp of Tuesday’s arrests, LaValle called on his Senate colleagues to, in his words, “light a fire” under every district attorney in the state to follow the lead of Nassau County and investigate their own high schools.

Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice said those students charged as misdemeanor juvenile offenders will not be identified, and the courtroom will be sealed when they are arraigned, CBS 2’s McLogan reports.

Law enforcement negotiated Tuesday’s surrender date with the lawyers for the students, keeping it close to their Thanksgiving breaks from colleges.

Sound off in our comments section below…

  • mcccmar

    Having taught at St Mary’s some years ago I can attest to the pressure these kids are to be successful in school . So much self worth and parental acceptance is contingent on pleasing their highly successful weathly parents. NO community colleges for these kids – Its a shame – the parents need to hang their heads in shame for the pressure they put on these kids and the Board of Regents needs to review their ridiculous standards – these are kids – NOT robots

    • Sully

      Preasure? What a cop out. To justify dishonesty with “preasure ” is disgusting. I went to St. Mary’s and there is preasure everywhere, competition in sports, preasure to drink, do drugs have sex. Getting into college doesn’t even compare to those other preasures. To even think you can justufy cheating with the so called “preasure ” is a joke. It is adults like you that are a bad influence on children, you should not be teaching. Adults that justify bad behaviour because of “preasure” , are the problem.

      • Sully

        (fixed some ypos – type hard to see)
        Presure? What a cop out. To justify dishonesty with “preasure ” is disgusting. I went to St. Mary’s and there is presure everywhere, competition in sports, presure to drink, do drugs have sex. Getting into college doesn’t even compare to those other presures. To even think you can justufy cheating with the so called “presure ” is a joke. It is adults like you that are a bad influence on children, you should not be teaching. Adults that justify bad behaviour because of “presure” , are the problem.

  • Gabriella

    I have hard working children too. But, I don’t fear the misconduct of others. There has always been cheating throughout the ages. The children who work hard will always persevere regardless of what others do To lead them into believing that their lives are being hampered by those who feel the need to do this sort of thing, will only give them the impression that they cannot overcome such obstacles. Throughout our lives we deal with cheaters, thieves, people that steal other people’s work. We should never condone it, but we can’t let it become a “witch hunt” either. The old saying “cheaters never prosper” is a fact of life. Sooner or later life bites them in the ….s. I also think too much media and the pompous “high and mighty” attitudes from our officials: Ms. Rice, Mr. Lavalle is so ridiculous and can guarantee that if these kids have to do jail time, they will not be reelected into office. There are bigger “fish” to fry out there than a bunch of kids who though the competition was too tough and felt the need to resort to cheating in order to guarantee themselves a chance. To the parents who think these kids are not as worthy of a higher education as their kids or some other students, sorry to say but you are seriously wrong. Every student, even desperate ones, are deserving of a higher education. Colleges set high standards and the stress of getting into the college of your choice can be incredible. I feel for these kids who felt they had to risk doing something like this just so they could get into college. The ones who sold their services should be made to do community service for two years. (It’s more than we give corporate embezzlers). The ones who took the bait should be suspended. I think these kids have learned their lesson already. The academic process can sometimes be a puritanical process. It sometimes makes it easier for a select portion of students to progress, and at the same time not giving the rest any assistance in improving their chances. Many good high schools will claim that they do, but the reality is that they don’t. If you want to point the finger at someone for this calamity look well at what the administrations are doing to assist the “entire” student community in their districts to excel and reach their goals. Many kids don’t know how to communicate their needs. As adults we should be reaching out to them to find out what we can do to make the experience less traumatic. Many teachers, counselors and administrators understand the situation, but more often than we want to believe, do not step up to the plate to mentor or guide. This was not a criminal act, it was an act of desperation.

  • Civil Servant

    What Confucius say has merit- cheating is cheating, period, and it’s never a problem for anyone until someone gets caught. It’s an infraction, but I don’t think it deserves all the press it’s getting.

  • Bernie Sanders

    Does anyone stop to think that maybe these tests are too hard for the kids and thats why they did what they did cause you have to pass high to get into a school tyou want to .. You should be able to go to any college you want as long as you graduate with good grades !

    • Sue Brown

      The problem with letting everyone into college without testing them to see if they can continue through college is that many can’t. If you can’t do well on your ACT or SAT you won’t do well on your college tests, papers, understanding the lectures, etc. Then students will drop out, loans would still need to be repaid, and financial aid to deserving students would have been wasted on kids who though they would be able to survive college coursework only to find out how really difficult it is.

  • olga

    i’m an immigrant, not wealthy at all. my daughter prepared for SAT test by herself. we bought two books for her she asked for. she passed SAT, graduated from a very good college and even taught SAT to chinese immigrants kids, who also passed their exams by themselves. it’s not wealth that give your kid advantage. every test for kids is also a test for their parents.

  • R. Conrade

    And you all think this is one isolated incident??? has never happened before!!??
    I guess the old adage…”breed um dumb so you can lead them”……is in full force now. Spare me this CRAP….cheating on these tests are as old as the tests themselves…God have mercy! Give me a break…..this is the very reason why America is in the shape it’s in!! The haves, will HAVE, at any expense, and the have nots, will continue to bust their proverbial butts on their own merit and intellect.

  • Jason

    Some of the best universities in the country no longer require SAT scores for admissions. The SAT needs to be abolished once and for all. Wealthy parents can pay for SAT prep services which essentially give their children answers to the SAT questions and give them an advantage over less wealthy students. Frankly the only group that still thinks the SAT has merit is the ETS – and that is only because they are the for profit company that owns the SAT – and they would go out of business if use of the SAT ended.

    • joey from B'hurst

      Whose fault is it when the parents can’t afford to send their child for SAT prep courses? Saving money for this should be a priority. Think about that the next time you go the ballgame, and lay out $50+ for a seat, hotdogs, and beer. You denied your child to excel, not the rich man.

      I believe in the SAT, as the universal test all college bound candidates take and are judged against their peers nationwide. An average student could go to a “slow” high school and be hailed as the next Newton.

      • Bernie Sanders

        then DONT HAVE KIDS ~

  • justpassinthru

    i view it more in an “apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” type way

  • Long Island Parent

    Why is this news? They’re good kids only trying to get into college….

    • a parent of a hardworking, honest student

      I guess you could then potentially be one of the parents who might finance such a scheme for your child. These kids are not trying to get into college — they’re trying to get into a better college than they actually would qualify to, on their own merits. I’m sure most or all of them would get into A college without cheating. It is, plain and simple, wrong, because they are cheating another WORTHY student who achieved honestly on the exam, a seat at that more selective college. Someone who would best be able to take advantage and would honestly make the most of what that college offers, will NOT get that seat. How do you justify that??? Anyone who thinks this is understandable and not a big deal and that it shouldn’t be addressed somehow, is one of the reasons this country is going downhill on every front.

  • Confucius

    Parents’ likely culpability reflects this new generation of parenting where the focus is on being their child’s friend, rather than an authority figure who provides guidance and wisdom. If traditional parental ethics break down, it will be a standing ten count for the survival of our way of life.

    • Moni

      You are correct in “focus is on being their child’s friend, rather than an authority figure” These are kids from the GOLD COAST area of LI— Many parents use their children accomplishments as their own status symbol.
      I am glad they are going to court, just to let these parents know – You may be Rich, but your kids are still slow/bored or just dumb.

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