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updated: 11/18/2011 6:21 PM

Antioch High School teacher charged with computer tampering

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  • Sara Glashagel

      Sara Glashagel
    Courtesy Antioch Police Department

 
 

An Antioch High School teacher was charged Friday with computer tampering, after police say she changed the grades of several students who were on the school's ineligibility list.

Teacher Sara Glashagel, who turned herself into police on Friday, said, however, "This is a misconception that has spiraled out of control." The Elk Grove Village woman said she intends to fight the misdemeanor charges in court.

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School officials said Friday the grade changes were quickly caught and changed back, and did not impact the eligibility of any students on the school's in-house or Illinois High School Association eligibility lists.

District officials said the five-year teacher has been placed on administrative leave.

Antioch Police Chief Craig Somerville said officers were first contacted Sept. 28 by officials at Antioch Community High School, regarding a possible compromise of the school's computer database.

Somerville said school officials were notified by a teacher that several students' grades had been changed in the school computer over the previous weekend.

Detectives, in cooperation with school officials and staff, conducted a lengthy investigation, Somerville said.

Somerville said investigators concluded that Glashagel gained unauthorized access to the computer database on five occasions, and on each occasion, changed numerous students' grades, he said.

The chief said he could not comment whether Glashagel was working independently, or if someone else had asked her to make the changes.

Glashagel turned herself in after speaking with police Friday, Somerville said, and was charged with a misdemeanor count of computer tampering.

She was released on a $1,000 recognizance bond, and is expected to appear in court on Dec. 9. If found guilty, she could be sentenced up to one year in jail and fined up to $2,500, he added.

Glashagel said she "accepts the charges" that were filed against her.

The five-year, tenured English teacher said there are many "misconceptions spiraling out of control," but has been advised to not comment on whether she did or did not tamper with students grades.

"I have accepted the charges that have been filed against me, but it's up to a judge to decide whether I did something wrong or not," she said. "I have a court date and intend to allow the judicial process to run its course."

She added that whatever happened, it involved no one but herself.

Glashagel said she has nothing but the utmost respect for the teachers, administrators and students of Antioch High School, and that she is working with district officials through the accusations.

"The people at Antioch High School are great people, and we are helping each other through this," she said. "I have allowed myself to be charged, and I will fight this in court."

Mike Nekritz and Jim McKay, co-superintendents of Antioch High School District 117, said in a conference call late Friday afternoon that the grade changes were made over one weekend, and discovered almost immediately.

"The grades that were changed were immediately corrected after the compromise was discovered," Nekritz said. "But, we can't go into more information until we see the actual police report from the Antioch Police Department."

Nekritz said steps were immediately put in place to secure the system.

McKay and Nekritz would not speculate on why Glashagel would have changed the grades. High schools put out weekly lists of students whose grades make them eligible, or ineligible for sports and other activities.

"The eligibility list comes out at the end of each week, and the discrepancies were discovered over the weekend," Nekritz said. "The grades were changed, and the changes were found and fixed, between the eligibility lists being released.

Those discrepancies didn't impact any student athletes in terms of playing any sports or activities."

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