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70 Stuyvesant High Students to Retake Regents Exam Amid Cheating Scandal

Stuyvesant High School in Battery Park City.
Stuyvesant High School in Battery Park City.
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Flickr/Art Poskanzer

BATTERY PARK CITY — Seventy students at the elite Stuyvesant High School will have to retake Regents exams after they were caught cheating on them last month, Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said Monday.

Officials uncovered the cheating ring at the Battery Park City school after catching junior Nayeem Ahsan allegedly photographing his Spanish Regents exam several weeks ago and confiscating his phone. While examining the phone, administrators found text messages to dozens of other students with information about Spanish, English and physics Regents tests.

"It’s not acceptable," Walcott said on John Gambling's WOR show Monday morning. "We’re not going to tolerate it.”

In addition to invalidating the exam results for Ahsan and the other 69 students who cheated, the Department of Education is also suspending Ahsan and reportedly forcing him to transfer to another school over the summer.

The investigation also uncovered a separate instance of a Stuyvesant student who cheated on the physics Regents test by passing notes, a DOE spokeswoman said. That student will be suspended and will have to retake the exam, the spokeswoman said.

Cheating has long been prevalent at Stuyvesant, one of the city's top high schools, because of the high-pressure academic environment and lax enforcement, students said.

"It was arbitrary and not very effective," Adam Schorin, a rising senior at Stuyvesant, said of the school's cheating policy last month. "If people feel the teacher is not paying attention, they get a little bolder."