[ISN] Some Students, Parents Defend New Trier Hacker

From: InfoSec News (alerts@private)
Date: Fri May 09 2008 - 05:49:47 PDT


08 May 2008

Some students and parents at Winnetka's New Trier High School are 
rallying to the defense of a senior who's now charged criminally for 
hacking into the school's computerized records.

WBBM's Bob Roberts and Regine Schlesinger report critics believe the 
school has gone too far in punishing him.

18-year-old Jonah Greenthal of Glencoe already had been suspended and 
barred from the prom and graduation after he hacked the school's records 
in February to find out his class ranking.

Now he's facing a misdemeanor charge of computer tampering. Greenthal 
was back at school Thursday - but only briefly so he could take his 
advanced placement exams for college.
Friends and other seniors said Greenthal is taking his three-month 
suspension, the decision by school officials to bar him from prom and 
graduation ceremonies, and his arrest this week “hard,” and said they 
are upset with the administration's stand.
“That's extreme. It's ruining his life,” said fellow New Trier senior 
Christina Warner as she waited for a bus after taking placement exams 
“I think it's over the top,” said fellow senior Noah Wasserman, who said 
Greenthal continues to tutor students off-campus in classes to which he 
was assigned before his suspension as a teacher's aide - even preparing 
them study guides.
“That's taking it too far,” said senior Mona Kelkar, who said New Trier 
administrators should have put the episode behind them and allowed 
Greenthal back into his classes weeks ago.
Winnetka Police Deputy Chief Patrick Kreis said Thursday that there is 
no indication that anyone else was involved in the hacking, and said he 
could not recall a similar incident at New Trier, “at least nothing in 
recent history.”
But senior Abby Needles said Greenthal is not the first and probably 
won't be the last student to hack the computer to find his class 
ranking, a statistic New Trier keeps but for years has refused to 
divulge, even to the students themselves.

She said Greenthal is driven to succeed, and said pressure to perform is 
an everyday fact of life at the school, informally called “the Harvard 
of high schools” for decades.
“At New Trier there's a lot of pressure to be the best, do the best, get 
the best grades,” Needles said.

“So a lot of students look for people who may know what the class ranks 
are just because they're curious, just because they want to be on top.”

Wasserman said Greenthal continues to be driven to help fellow students 
despite his suspension.
“He's creating review packets,” he said. “I think he's an asset to the 
school and by keeping him from the school, it's actually a detriment.”
New Trier spokesperson Laura Blair said the decision to allow Greenthal 
to take his AP exams did not indicate a change in the suspension or 
handling of the case, which she called “unfortunate for the student and 
the family.”
Kreis indicated that New Trier staff contacted them on Feb. 22, 
requesting the investigation.  Staff allegedly caught Greenthal logged 
into the school computer on his laptop while on campus.
Students have made T-shirts and wristbands to show support for 
Greenthal, who is free on $1,000 bond on a misdemeanor charge of 
computer tampering, a charge that could draw a jail term of up to one 
year and a $1,000 fine if he is convicted.
Greenthal's next court appearance is at 10:30 a.m. June 5, in Room 102 
of the Skokie Courthouse.

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