Nightly News | November 22, 2011
BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: And a high-profile cheating scandal has expanded tonight. This one involves high school students from Long Island , New York , accused of cheating on their SATs by paying other kids to take the test for them. It's a story that's getting national attention and stirring outrage over the honest, hard-working students who are losing out to cheaters in this case. Our education correspondent Rehema Ellis has our report.
Unidentified Woman: Did you cheat on the SATs ?
REHEMA ELLIS reporting: Thirteen current and former students from some of America 's top ranked public high schools turned themselves in today in the high stakes cheating scandal that has now spread to several New York communities. Some of the students are accused of accepting up to $3600 in exchange for taking critical college entrance exams for other students, including the SAT and the ACT. The others, who are suspected of paying students to take the tests for them, face misdemeanor charges.
Ms. KATHLEEN RICE (Nassau County District Attorney): Our investigation has exposed problems with standardized testing system that impacts thousands of colleges and millions of college-bound students.
ELLIS: Attorneys for some of those accused say their clients have plead not guilty. This is the latest chapter in the growing cheating scandal that began in September with the arrest of seven students from Great Neck North High School .
Mr. SHON SHALIT (Great Neck North High School): Every SAT or every SAT grade from our school we're going to have taken with a grain of salt because of these kids.
ELLIS: The investigation has cast a national spotlight on security surrounding college entrance exams .
Ms. RICE: All it takes is a simple, homemade fake ID to take the ACTs or the SAT for someone else.
ELLIS: With so much at stake and the pressure many students feel to get into college, some say people should think twice about how to hold the students accountable.
Unidentified Man: This is not a criminal matter that should be processed here in the court system.
ELLIS: That attorney, who represents one of the students, says this matter should be handled by the school districts instead. As for the students accused of accepting money to take the exams, they could face up to four years in prison if they are convicted. Brian :
WILLIAMS: Boy, there's nothing fair about this case. It pressed everybody's buttons. Rehema , thanks. Up next