B & E & C

At ultra-competitive Hanover High in New Hampshire, students charged with breaking into school to steal tests face more than suspension and an F on the final: The “Notorious Nine” face criminal charges. So far, they’re accused of Class B misdemeanors, which bring a fine but no chance of jail time. But the prosecutor has warned the charges could be raised to felonies if the students take the matter to court instead of pleading guilty. The Boston Globe reports:

While some stood sentry in hallways, others entered a classroom and used stolen keys to break into a teacher’s filing cabinet and steal exams for advanced math honors, advanced math, Algebra II, and calculus. Five days later, another group stole chemistry finals. In total, some 50 students are suspected of participating in the thefts, either helping to plan them or receiving answers from stolen exams.

The school will apply traditional academic penalties against everyone involved, but thinks b&e is a police matter.

The Notorious Nine’s well-connected parents — including a Dartmouth professor, physician, hospital president and local newspaper columnist — are furious, reports the Globe. They think the Nine should be charged with “violations that carry no criminal penalties, penalties they say could harm their children’s chances of attending college or securing employment.”

Because why should theft or breaking and entering affect a kid’s future?

Some Hanoverians “have questioned whether the intense competitiveness of 750-student Hanover High forced students into positions of having to cheat.”

Those poor little dears. They just wanted to get higher grades than their classmates without doing the work. They had to cheat.

My daughter knew two boys at her ultra-competitive high school who stole a key, broke into a school building and copied two finals for their own use and that of their friends. They got away with it. Teachers knew they’d done it, but couldn’t prove it. She competed against cheaters for spots at elite colleges. And she ended up with a Stanford degree, so it’s no tragedy. But I’m a little bitter about it.

See this for West Coast cheating.

About Joanne


  1. The parents’ reaction is typical of the type of thinking that undermines our society in general and our schools in particular. If it were any of my children, my response to them would be that you get what you deserve. You broke into and were caught stealing from someone’s private property. Accept the consequences.

  2. The desire for a double standard, one for me and mine and another for everyone else, never ends and is the best reason to be on guard for the misuse and/or usurpation of power. While the students, and especially the parents, *should* be ashamed of themselves, I doubt if they would even understand why there should be any shame involved.

  3. “…thinks b&e is a police matter.”

    This is isn’t just breaking and entering or trespass: unlawfully entering on the property of another with the intent to commit an offense therein is burglary, period. Even letting them off with a misdemeanor is a double standard. As a prosecutor myself, I’d find it disgraceful if my colleagues in New Hampshire were to accede to that.

  4. These kids have all the advantages of parents with money, status, and educations. They most likely have computers at home, books, lessons, tutors, etc. Now, they want the advantage of knowing the answers to tests that other kids–many without their advantages–have to answer fairly. I wonder, did their parents get where they are through cheating? How else to explain their reactions…

  5. Well, such a CRIME should leave marks on their record. This wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment lark, with a student giving into the temptation of a test carelessly left out.

    This was a planned activity, which brought in CO-CONSPIRATORS; they are lucky that the DA is willing to deal at all.

    There is NO excuse for these kids – they’ve had every advantage in life, and they still felt entitled to cheat without punishment?

    Advanced Math HONORS? They should completely lose the credit. They have no honor.

  6. timfromtexas says:

    Well, what’s new here? This has been happening for decades. I taught 6 years at such a school in the sixties. At that time, of course, teachers used grade-books. Any teacher with any sense knew that all grade-books, tests, etc. had to be securely hidden, or taken home each day. If they were left in the locked classroom, they had to be devilishly hidden, because it didn’t take a mental giant to break into a classroom. I suspect it doesn’t still.

    Now, I used the expression, mental giant, because the students that one had to be wary of breaking into the classroom were the students that wern’t the mental giants their parents wanted and expected them to be. Many students in such schools are under extreme pressure to perform perfectly by their parents.

    Of course, there is nothing wrong with parents having high expectations. However, when a teacher has students in class especially on a scheduled exam day, who perspire profusely during the exam, even though they had prepared as best they could, certain curcumstances are immediately evident. One of the circumstances,in my experience, is the parents of those children aren’t intereted in the welfare of their children, but are expecting the children to make them look good no matter. So some of those students take the drastic actions to keep their parents happy.

    This is a mild experience compared to some I could tell, but alas, I remain polite.

  7. I suppose flogging is out of the question.

  8. flogging for the parents or the students?

  9. They should flog all of them.