FBI contacted after students breach JCPS computer system

Published: Dec. 18, 2007 at 11:34 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 25, 2007 at 5:02 AM EST
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By Connie Leonard
WAVE 3 Investigator

LOUISVILLE (WAVE) -- Three people accused of hacking into the computer system at Manual High School are now being investigated by law enforcement authorities. As WAVE 3 Investigator Connie Leonard reports, school officials say the FBI has been contacted.

It seems to be the story everyone is talking about -- what will happen to the Manual High students who hacked into the JCPS computer system? The answer: they could be in serious trouble.

Police say two very smart seniors and one former student who worked at a computer parts store altered everything from grades to attendance records. They even created a website -- www.ilovekeepers.com -- named after Manual Principal Beverly Keepers. On that site, they posted tests and quizzes as well as the answers to those tests.

Now JCPS Executive Director of Safety Maurice Risner tells us the seniors have been suspended for 10 days, with a recommendation that they be placed in an alternative school. Their families can appeal the recommendation at an upcoming hearing.

School officials have also contacted Louisville Metro Police and the FBI to see if any local or federal laws have been broken. When we spoke with Risner, he told us the FBI had been contacted, but hadn't opened an investigation.

"Parents and students need to take seriously that this is theft, it's deception," Risner said. "You can get into a lot of trouble by going and getting into computers and domains that you have no business in. Adults get prison time for this."

So far, the seniors and former student suspected of hacking the system have not been charged with anything criminal, and school officials say they deserve their due process.

If their families win their appeal, the students could return to Manual -- a school that's not easy to get into in the first place. Of the 1,000+ students that applied for the 9th grade for the 2007-2008 school year -- only 410 were accepted.

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Online Reporter:  Connie Leonard

Online Producer: Charles Gazaway