Mom Hacks Into School Computer System, Changes Her Kids’ Grades

Helicopter parents be warned: this behavior could land you in prison

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Talk about helicopter parenting. It’s one thing to do your children’s homework for them. But when you decide to take matters into your own hands and change their grades yourself, well, that’s when law enforcement gets involved.

(MORE: Failing Student Forced to Wear Sign Broadcasting Bad Grades)

A Pennsylvania woman faces six felony charges for doing just that. Catherine Venusto, 45, hacked into the Northwestern Lehigh School District computer system and altered the grades of her two children, ABC News reports. Venusto had worked at the district as an administrative office secretary from 2008 through April, 2011. A year before she quit, Venusto, of New Tripoli, Penn., had been accused of changing her daughter’s failing grade to a medical exception. And in February, 2012, she was accused of changing her son’s 98 to a 99 to help him get a student scholarship and student loan.

Venusto was arraigned this week on three counts of unlawful use of a computer and three counts of computer trespassing and altering data. All six of those charges are third degree felonies. State police said she admitted to changing the grades, but thought her actions were merely unethical— not illegal. According to District Attorney’s office spokeswoman Debbie Garlicki, Venusto could face up to 42 years in prison or a $90,000 fine if convicted.

MORE: Behavior: Report Cards Can Hurt You

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jakesyl
jakesyl

That's not hacking, she had the password 

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Abeer
Abeer

 42 years for just changing grades. O,o

Steve Matsukawa
Steve Matsukawa

I find it very amusing the continuing 'flame wars' over whether this scumbag hacked, cracked or used her own or someone else's credentials.  So much arguing over how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. 

The main thrust of the article is that this moron of a mother had to change her children's grades for whatever useless reasons she had.  Which is just plain wrong.

Steve Matsukawa
Steve Matsukawa

What kind of person would do something that is not only unethical but is illegal.  I bet this lady is a fine upstanding christian or catholic.  I know that this woman's behavior will be applauded by idiots and scumbags such as republicans and Penn State boosters and alumni.  This is what America is coming down to, how to scam the system.

LOL!  

theworldofmarla
theworldofmarla

Changed a 98 to a 99? I think her kids are smarter than she is. 

sam
sam

The punishment is very severe, 42 years... God! too much. 42 for 6 counts thats is 7 years for feach. Even I thought it would not be that much. I wonder how much punishment those professional hackers get when caught????

I believe the state should not be so severe, if she has a clean record, the state should show leniency. Afterall her purpose was not criminal. She was just being a caring "MOM" who would do anything for her children.

Dalek Caan
Dalek Caan

Watch her get 42 years and the Libor bankers get a payoff.

Harry Couture
Harry Couture

Seriusly 42 years for changing a 98 to 99?  What the fuck! people steal and kill and they get much less than that.

Frank
Frank

a 98 to a 99! seriously!

Joe Golden
Joe Golden

You can molest a child and get 2 years in prison.  But BEWARE! - If you change their grades you'll get 42 years!

varis
varis

42 years in prison? Was she sexually molesting her children while changing their grades?

RWFG
RWFG

One point!

She put her ass in jail for one lousy point. 

BitShare
BitShare

42 yrs, that is ridiculous. Hopefully she just gets community service and the kids aren't penalized too bad for their mother's actions.

AustinShea
AustinShea

Why does this article not discuss what is meant by the term "hack." 

Are we truly meant to believe that she was breaking the security systems put in place by massive technology companies?

Passwords in public schools tend to be very public, and are routinely re-used.

I think it's disingenuous to suggest that this person hacked their way into a system. 

If a computer system is a house, hacking's closest equivalent would be breaking-and-entering. If someone tells you their password, it's like being given a duplicated key.

She didn't break her way into anything.

AustinShea
AustinShea

Wow. Talk about a lack of understanding. 

She worked at the school, and is probably a sweet and innocent person. Why do I think that? She changed her child's grade by an objectively insignificant amount. I'm gonna bet that one point meant the world to her son, though.

Mothers that care this much, and are capable of raising grade A students, need NOT to have their innocence shattered by this judicial nonsense.

AustinShea
AustinShea

Wow. Talk about a lack of understanding. 

She works at the school, and is probably a sweet and innocent person. Why do I think that? She changed her child's grade by an objectively insignificant amount. I'm gonna bet that one point meant the world to her son, though.

Mothers that care this much, and are capable of raising grade A students, need NOT to have their innocence shattered by this judicial nonsense.

ComGenSupreme
ComGenSupreme

Our laws are designed to punish "big time", the little person, while the wealthy elite hire lawyers to make up these laws and they buy the votes that get them enacted. Welcome to America the ugly!

ComGenSupreme
ComGenSupreme

No, really, 42 years and 90K in fines for being a cheater. Yes, lets teach this "woman" a lesson, lets throw the book at her. Someone has to be held up to ridicule for the cheating they've done - this woman is a good target. It helps to avoid the debacle on Wall Street and Washington (think FDA and all the rest of the scum in DC), since "none" of them were charged with anything. I think this woman should pay the full price for all of their sins.

Please help me to stop vomiting....