A Florida assistant principal and her daughter face charges after authorities say they rigged the vote for homecoming queen last fall.
Laura Rose Carroll, 50, and her daughter, Emily Rose Grover, 17, face charges of offenses against computer networks and electronic devices, unlawful use of a two-way communications device, criminal use of personally identifiable information and conspiracy to commit these offenses, according to NorthEscambia.com.
The investigation was triggered when Escambia County School District contacted the Florida Department of Law Enforcement claiming that there had been unauthorized access that impacted a large number of Tate High School student accounts in FOCUS, the district’s information technology system.
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Carroll, an assistant principal at Bellview Elementary School, and her daughter, who was a student at Tate High School, were able to access the accounts because Carroll had district-level access to the system.
Grover had been voted homecoming queen, but when officials investigated, they found 117 votes from one IP address.
Overall, mother and daughter cast 246 votes in the contest for homecoming queen, investigators said.
The investigation was triggered by suspicion over some votes and an ethics complaint that was made.
Officials found unauthorized access to school accounts from Carroll’s cell phone and computers at Carroll’s house.
Officials also discovered that starting in August 2019, Carroll’s account accessed 372 high school accounts, including 339 High School students.
Arrest affidavits showed that students were aware of the snooping because Grover boasted about it.
“I have known that Emily Grover logs into her moms school account in order to access grades and test scores since freshman year when we became friends,” one student said in a statement.
“She has looked up [redacted] student ID before to [redacted]. She also knows that if she logs into her moms account at Tate it will ping that Laura Grover signed in at Tate High School. She looks up all of our group of friends grades and makes comments about how she can find out our test scores all of the time,” the student said.
“When Emily Grover was a sophomore [redacted] class, I recall times that she logged onto her moms focus account and openly shared information, grades, schedules, etc. with others. She did not seem like logging in was a big deal and was very comfortable with doing so,” another witness statement said.
The system records grades, medical history, test scores, attendance, disciplinary actions, personnel information, emergency contacts, schedules and other information about students.
Grover has been expelled from the school.
Her mother has been suspended by the school district.
Carroll would have no comment, her lawyer told The New York Times.
“She’d love to give out her side of the story, but it would probably be after we resolve the case,” the lawyer, Randall J. Etheridge, said.
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