Fast crimes at Lincoln High

There are those who say that high school is a difficult time for adolescents. One’s body is changing drastically, hormones are raging, the mind struggles to resolve an age that is neither child nor adult. All in all, it can be quite daunting. But some students can apply their minds to achieve goals far beyond expectations, and that’s the case for some at Lincoln High in Stockton.

Recently, a group of students intending to alter their attendance records and change their grades invaded the school computers. As many as 26 students have been implicated in this high-tech caper, sparking inquiries from both the Lincoln school district and the local police department.

Lincoln’s assistant principal, David Schindler, is heading the school’s investigation. “As far as we know, some kids solicited some other kids if they wanted their attendance changed so they could go to prom, and I don’t think more than one or two grades were changed. It was mostly attendance.”

If the above-mentioned motive seems almost non sequitur, Schindler makes sense of it. “You can have up to seven unexcused [absences] to earn a lunch pass, and you needed a lunch pass to go to the prom.” For those students—mostly seniors—who were long on absences and short on options, 21st-century American ingenuity provided an opportunity.

The current scenario has three students offering 23 others their considerable computer talents for the purpose of altering confidential records. Interested students paid five bucks a piece and their names were passed along to the individuals handling the actual techno wizardry. Although the school is still in the dark about many of the details surrounding the incident—how the codes were obtained, who approached who, whether there were any go-betweens—Schindler is relatively confident regarding the where and the when of the crime.

He confirmed that the records were changed from the campus computer lab as far back as March 16, just after the third quarter ended. The school, however, was a bit slow coming to the realization that anything was amiss, discovering the anomalies in the records around March 30.

The investigation is still underway. “There were some suspensions and we may have some expulsions,” said Schindler, adding “the police are still involved,” meaning it is still unclear whether any criminal charges will be brought against the hackers.

Meanwhile, a society that has recently been dumbstruck with the continued acts of violence in California high schools may prefer to view the incident in Stockton as a considerably safer form of anarchy. Kids will be kids after all, and one thing remains impressively evident in all the commotion: For a public educational system that has long been the butt of jokes, it has proven that it can in fact impart some computer knowledge and skills on its student body.