The Georgia Department of Education contacted the school system last week when it was uncovered that a student had a score for a test that he had never taken, said Louis Svehla, director of public information for Richmond County. Twelve students in the credit recovery program -- a statewide program set up to help students earn credits for classes they failed -- have been suspended five days each. The investigation is continuing and stricter punishments could be issued, officials said.
"To my knowledge, there will be no criminal charges," Mr. Svehla said.
The investigation will determine how many of the 30 students in the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program participated in the act, he said. It will also determine how the password was stolen.
Georgia Virtual School, a part of the state Department of Education that oversees the credit recovery program, noticed grading irregularities and notified Richmond County, state education spokesman Dana Tofig said Thursday, but he would not go into detail as to how the students cheated.
"Grades were changed in a way that raised a red flag," he said.
Mr. Tofig said the cheating was discovered in late October. The grade levels, names and ages of the suspended students were not made public.
There were eight Richmond County students disciplined last year for computer trespassing, according to state records.
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