Students suspended for grade changes

Two seniors have been suspended from Minarets High School just weeks before graduation for unlawfully hacking into teacher’s grade books and changing grades. The names of the students were not released because they are under 18 years old.

According to the Madera County Sheriff’s Office, charges for computer crimes are expected to be filed against the two students for obtaining teacher password credentials to unlawfully go online to change grades.

A number of students at the school were contacted about having grades changed for $10 per class. At this time, the sheriff’s office has confirmed seven students had their grades changed.

After several months, a teacher became aware of the unlawful entries, contacted the suspects, and the school conducted a thorough investigation.

“It has become evident to Chawanakee Unified School District personnel that the computerized academic grading system has been accessed by a small group of students in order to modify their own grades,” said Principal Daniel Ching. “This incident has been isolated to Minarets High School / Minarets Charter.”

Ching said school officials are conducting a comprehensive review of the school’s electronic grading system.

“The district has determined this was an isolated incident involving student grade changes during the current term,” Ching said. “Our current system is configured to flag all ongoing grade changes as well as their sources, so as each assignment is reviewed, changed grades are readily identifiable. Grades prior to the 2014-15 grade year were not tampered with. Furthermore, the system accessed by students was not the districts “system of record” containing personal data, but rather isolated to individual gradebooks.”

Ching explained that the student information system and the grading system are completely separate and distinct, with distinct security protocols.

“The District has also taken preventative measures to ensure that the opportunity for student tampering with grade books is minimized in the future,” Ching said. “Chawanakee Unified School District takes seriously any allegations of unauthorized computer access and grade tampering, and will take appropriate action as necessary. Students involved in this incident will be disciplined under the appropriate provisions of the California Educational Code governing student suspension and expulsion as well as the California penal code, where appropriate.”

Students, parents, or community members who would like further information should contact Bob Nelson, Chawanakee superintendent at

Additional recent sheriff office calls include the following:


* 12:23 a.m., May 4 - Suspect arrested for violating a restraining order after reports of a domestic disturbance off White Oak Drive.

* 10:59 a.m., May 4 - Reports of elder abuse off road 224. Officer responding requested charges be filled against the suspect.

* 7:17 p.m., May 4 - A woman was cited for drug-related charges during a vehicle code violation stop off of Highway 41.

* 4:23 p.m., May 5 - Report of a fraud with the unauthorized use of an access prepaid credit card that was purchased at an area business off Highway 49.

* 10:25 p.m., May 5 - Reports of vandalism off of Highway 41.

* 12:44 a.m., May 6 - Two women were arrested on warrants and drug charges during a traffic stop off of Highway 41.

* 1:44 p.m., May 6 - Reports of a residential burglary off of Royal Oaks Drive.

* 12:52 p.m., May 6 - Report of a theft to a residence off Road 222.

* 3:38 p.m., May 6 - Report of a burglary off Hodges Hill Drive.

* 8:50 a.m., May 7 - Report of a theft from an unlocked vehicle off of Hidden Oak Drive.

* 8:57 a.m., May 7 - Report of a residential burglary off of HIdden Oak Drive.

* 11:53 a.m., May 8 - A person reportedly on probation and in possession of methamphetamine was cited and released in Oakhurst Park.

* 5:49 p.m., May 8 - Report of burglary off Hidden Oak Drive.

* 6:25 p.m., May 10 - Sheriffs responded to a report of domestic disturbance, but were unable to locate the man who allegedly caused it for questioning.

* 7:02 a.m., May 11 - Report of theft from an unlocked vehicle off of Road 426.

* 7:22 a.m., May 11 - Report of theft of medication off of Chapel Hill Drive.

* 10:54 a.m., May 11 - A residential robbery was reported from the same location as the theft from an unlocked vehicle earlier that morning off of Road 426.

* 10:27 a.m., May 11 - A Yosemite High School student was allegedly found in possession of marijuana on campus, and was suspended.

* * 2:30 p.m., May 11 - Report of male yelling, cursing and acting strangely near highways 41 and 49. The male reportedly exposed himself in public, but no one wanted to file charges. The male was located in front of a restaurant off Highway 49, and during the investigation, it was determined that the suspect was gravely disabled and was placed on a 5150 hold.

* 4:05 p.m., May 11 - A runaway child was contacted by deputies in the Von’s Supermarket parking lot. They refused to go home to their guardians and were subsequently taken to juvenile hall.

* 4:44 p.m., May 11 - A person was found unresponsive, and later determined to be deceased, off of Elliott Drive.


* 10:25 a.m., May 6 - theft of electrical wire at the PG&E substation at the end of Oonay Nation Road.

* 4:23 p.m., May 6 - A child ran away from home prior to the sheriff, who was responding to reports of a family disturbance, arrived to the scene off of Quartz Mountain Road.

* 11:29 a.m., May 10 - Report of a theft, vandalism and unauthorized use of victim’s bank credit card at a residence off Road 400.

* 10:00 p.m., May 10 - Report of a runaway child off of Ranger Circle.

North Fork

* 12:23 p.m., May 4 - Report of elder abuse.

* 1:19 p.m., May 11 - Report of burglary off of Trail’s End Road.

* 5:32 p.m., May 11 - A man walking on Road 274 near Road 225 was bleeding from his nose and mouth. He was found to be intoxicated and was later released at a hospital.

Bass Lake

* 4:41 p.m., May 4 - Vandalism was reported off of Paha Road.

* 6 p.m., May 4 - Party hiking with friends becomes separated from them in the Sierra National Forest. Search and Rescue is required to locate the party, who is found uninjured.

* 9 p.m., May 4 - report of burglary off Road 432.


11:39 p.m., May 4 - A female suspect was arrested for domestic violence related charges and booked into Madera County Jail.

NOTE: The above are a sampling of the 113 calls for service made to the Madera County Sheriff’s Office for the week of May 4 - May 11, and are in no way inclusive. All suspects are assumed innocent until proven guilty.