Students hack into HWHS online gradebook

Four students hacked into an online gradebook system at Hanford West, changing points on an assignment, Hanford West High School Principal Bobby Peters confirmed Monday.

The incident happened April 29, after the students secretly obtained the password and login that a substitute teacher had for both the online gradebook and the online attendance system.

The students were caught making the point changes on their cell phones by a teacher in another class, Peters said.

The Sentinel received a tip last week that the incident had occurred.

Peters would not identify the students involved nor give the name of the teacher, the type of class or reveal any punishments the students might have received. The school has a policy not to discuss disciplinary matters with anybody other than the parents of the students involved, Peters said. Revealing the name of the class would make it easy to figure out who the teacher was, Peters said, adding that he doesn’t “want to put the teacher on the spot like that.”

The system was later changed to prevent substitute teachers from having access to the gradebook, Peters said. The change was made districtwide, he added.

“We’ve put in all the necessary safeguards,” he said.

Peters said the changes the students made were akin to changing a grade from a “B” to a “B+.” The bogus points were quickly removed, he said.

The substitute involved was on a one-day assignment, Peters said. He said the hacking incident was the first time students had managed to change grades by obtaining a substitute’s password.

“It disappoints me, but I try to look at good things coming out of everything. Because this happened, we were able to look at our system and identify things we can do better,” Peters said.

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