N.J. Teachers, Principals Suspended in Cheating Scandal

Officials say students were coached by teachers who were given the statewide exam in advance

Three teachers and two principals in a New Jersey school district have been suspended, accused of helping their young students cheat on statewide standardized exams in 2010. 

Investigators say an unusually high number of students erased the wrong answers and filled in the correect answers on the NJ ASK exam in 2010. Their probe into the exams in Woodbridge concluded that teachers helped students cheat at the Ross Street School and the Avenel Street School.

Officials say third-graders at the Avenel Street School were coached by teachers who were given the statewide exam in advance. 

"The kids are just way too young for this," remarked parent Emily Pereire. "They should be learning their elementary skills and not worrying about having so much pressure on them." 

Anita Isaacs, a grandmother of a student at the Ross Street School, said, "The example that is setting is that corruption and cheating is OK, and I'm not proud of that. I don't accept that." 

The young students involved will not be punished, the school district says. In a statement, the Woodbridge school board president said, "No child will be adversely affected by these reports. No test scores will be changed or revised. For the students, we are looking forward, not backwards. For staff, let's be clear -- each and every person who cheats will be held accountable." 

The principals at the Avenel and Ross Street schools have been transferred, and retired principals will be filling in while the district searches for replacements. 

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