In Ohio, Shi Huang is suing his AP bio teacher, administrators and the Kent Board of Education for making it too easy to hack into the teacher’s computer to find test questions. The honors student was caught, suspended for five days and given an F. His 3.97 grade point average was ruined and he was rejected by Harvard, Princeton, Duke and his other top college choices. He thinks that’s unfair.
“My only intention was to study for the test and get a better grade on the test. They viewed it as somehow I got into their (computer) system and they see me as a big threat … All I wanted to do was study for the test.”
A Chinese national, Huang faces deportation, he claims, if convicted of “unauthorized use of school property” for the hacking. His father is studying for a PhD at Kent State.
In addition to monetary damages, the suit seeks to remove the record of Huang’s suspension, eliminate the failing grade from his official transcript, restore his class rank (third at the time), resend midyear transcripts to colleges and drop a charge of complicity for unauthorized use of property, which is pending in juvenile court.
Huang and his parents blame teacher James Zagray for not helping Huang when he had trouble in class. The teacher had allowed students to see possible test questions on his web site earlier in the year, Huang said, but changed the password to cut off access.
“Suspecting Shi might try to cheat on the next exam, Zagray set a trap by selecting ‘Carl’ — Shi’s nickname — as the new password,” the lawsuit says. “The trap worked. Under extreme pressure to maintain his GPA for the midyear report to colleges, Shi tried something he had never done before: he asked a friend knowledgeable about computers if he could figure out Zagray’s password so he could study for an exam.”
Huang got a 95 on the test. His parents, who were teachers in China, say their son didn’t really cheat because he found the test questions, but not the answers, on the site and still had to study.
They suspect that racial discrimination may have played a role in the district’s response and say they have contacted the Ohio Civil Rights Commission.
Via Ms. C, who isn’t moved by Huang’s plight.