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Lehighton addresses test cheating

Published April 17. 2019 12:29PM

Lehighton Area Middle School administrators on Monday addressed their investigation of a “cheating situation” on an eighth-grade science test in March.

Stephen Ebbert, middle school dean of students, said the administration was made aware of the situation by an eighth-grade teacher, and an investigation started immediately. While the administration couldn’t share specific details of what happened, a parent, Karla Costenbader-Kovach, said a student was able to access a FOSS (Full-Option Science System) curriculum program and get answers to a test.

“My son and three others received zeros for the science test while 15-20 other students who received the test and answers by text or paper copy were allowed to take a different version of the science test for full credit,” Costenbader-Kovach said. “After I complained the situation was unfair to the four students receiving zeros the principal and dean of students offered the four students to write a cheating essay for 50 percent of a test grade.”

Out of privacy concerns for the students, Ebbert and middle school Principal Floyd Brown said they would not discuss individual disciplinary matters.

The two did outline how the investigation went forward.

“Names were provided to us and students were given the opportunity to provide their side of the story,” Ebbert said. “Based on the situation, all of the students were treated fairly. There were many different considerations here based on each individual student’s involvement.”

Costenbader-Kovach said she was not pleased with the outcome and has contacted an attorney regarding the situation. Her son, she said, received a 60 on his most recent report card due to the zero score on the test.

“I feel taxpayers should be made aware of this incident for administration to be pushed into looking at how an eighth-grade student could make a teacher’s account when we pay big bucks for this FOSS account,” she said.

Brown said Lehighton reached out to the publisher of the program regarding steps to take moving forward.

“They are putting things in place to better secure their site and to ensure something like this doesn’t happen again,” he said. “This was a very unfortunate situation, but we feel it was handled in the most fair way possible.”

Doesn’t sound fair to me “Good Ole Boys Network” alive and well.

Good evening. The stakeholders, parents, citizens and staff need to learn how the real government education system is supposed to work. If they do, we all can save money, turmoil, and have equal justice under the law, WITHOUT THE NEED FOR ATTORNEY SERVICES, where the money gets the justice. School policy is school law at the local level. Regrettable, but I agree with this parent, they have little choice with the current system but to hire an attorney and file for justice under then law. Our district is broken, rubber stampers have corrupted it.

We should all have equal access, and equal justice under the law, devoid of favoritism, nepotism and cronyism. Honor the Oath!

If we re-establish a proper complaint system, remove the risks and fear of retaliation, and a true board built on the Oath of Office, we all win. And the attorneys will only get involved in the most extreme cases. Hiring multiple attorneys to adjudicate a vulgar retweet, or a vaping search that escalated to the removal of clothes is just bad. For this parent to need an attorney just to get justice under the law is also a bad sign if the current block five voters. This board has ignored these community voices enough. The special needs parents needing attorneys to get their educational benefits, with the district funding BOTH sides is also a very bad sign.

The favoritism, rail roading, and unfair policy enforcement have to go. Time to fix this at the election booth.

The chain of command needs to be re-established and rubber stampers removed.

Proper chainnif command, as PA School Code dictates:
The people tell the board what policies they want and need. Board writes the policy. People confirm. Then - The board hires an administration that enforces the policy that were written, as written, no authority to deviate from policy or go rogue.
If a problem occurs, a complaint is filed. Administration is the first review, if either parties are not satisfied, the board is the appeal, they become the judge and jury. No need for attorneys UNLESS the problem is not resolved as the local government level. Think traffic court. This is just an educational benefits program. Each parent has about $186,000 credit to access the system for each child. The State Depatment of Education has tons of board support, we just need to ask. Including a free Office of Dispute Resolution.

Wake up, your friendly neighbors have duped the people. They tax and spend, hire attorney rubber stampers, some are great works, some are spending our money on chaos and interest on escalating bonds. When ths board ignores many of the agencies and laws we already have, we all lose. If this board would just properly write and enforced the policies, provide proper oversight, as in the Oath, with fidelity, we all win.

We all love the Lehighton Area School District. The rubber stampers ignoring their responsibility to oversee those they were elected to oversee, corrupt the entire system.

Transparency, the truth only hurts those hiding it. Imagine a lawful, fair system, and pull the right handles come May and November.


Citizen David F. Bradley Sr.

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