CENTERBURG — The Centerburg Board of Education has canceled Saturday’s graduation exercises.
Thursday evening the board met in an emergency session described as “several hours of intense and thorough discussion.” The special meeting focused on a breach into the school’s computer system by a senior student which resulted in copying some tests for a senior course.
The board, in a press release, explained the discovery of the cheating came so late and was of such extent — involving in various ways many members of the senior class, both by some who participated in cheating and others, while not directly participating, had knowledge of this activity but failed to report it — that cancellation of graduation ceremony was warranted.
Board member Leroy Bumpus said, in the press release, the board believes there are some students who were not involved in the cheating and regrets their sacrifice of no graduation ceremony. However, he continued, the board determined that it was necessary to make it clear to all Centerburg students and the community that cheating cannot and will not be tolerated and must have consequences.
“This is a very sad day for all of us,” Bumpus said, “and we do commit ourselves to taking all the necessary actions to see that such a situation as this never recurs.”
Colin Borden, 18, admits he used the printed tests to cheat and is willing to accept his punishment but feels other students should be sheltered from disciplinary action.
“Yes, I used the test,” Borden said. “I am fully aware and accept my punishment but not everyone should be punished. Students from the Knox County Career Center are being held from graduation and they don’t attend the same building, there is no way they could be involved.”
Borden said senior students were called into the school for questioning by the high school and middle school principals as well as law enforcement from the Knox County Sheriff’s Office.
Knox County Sheriff David Barber told the News this morning no arrests have been made but the investigation is ongoing.
Corrections and improvements in the school’s computer system and procedures are now being made and tested to achieve the highest level of security.”
Diplomas will be mailed to all qualified seniors next week.
Parents plan to hold a graduation ceremony Saturday at 1:30 p.m. in Centerburg Memorial Park.
As of press time, students were protesting the cancellation of graduation. The News is continuing to follow the story and will have more in Saturday’s edition and on www.mountvernonnews.com.