29-Year-Old Korean Woman Is Arrested For Posing As A High School Student

She was texting her underage classmates.

In the United States, adults over the age of 21 are legally prohibited from attending high school. Instead, there are many programs that allow adults over 21 to either obtain their GED certificate (which certifies you have passed high-school-equivalent tests) or attend Adult High Schools.

However, police in New Brunswick, New Jersey, recently arrested a 29-year-old woman attending classes at a public high school.

Unrelated classroom picture

Despite being 29 years old, Shin Hye Jeong was able to register to attend classes at the public New Brunswick high school, which enrolls students as young as 15, by providing a fake birth certificate.

In New Jersey, schools are required to provisionally enroll students without a guardian. The district then has 30 days to obtain more proof of identity from the students or declare them ineligible to attend class. Because of this rule, Shin Hye Jeong could attend classes at the high school for four days before her arrest.

During her four days, Shin Hye Jeong actually spent most of her time interacting with the guidance counselors, who were trying to get more information about her, rather than in class. When the staff at the high school determined that the information she had provided was fraudulent, they contacted the police.

New Brunswick school

The school superintendent, Aubrey A. Johnson, has since announced that the district will look into “how to better look for fake documentation and other things” since Shin Hye Jeong’s temporary admittance threatened students’ safety.

A board meeting about the issue

Although Shin Hye Jeong’s motives for enrolling in the high school are unknown, multiple students reported exchanging numbers with her to try and help the “new student” adapt to the school. But while the students’ intentions were kind, Shin Hye Jeong posed a serious risk to them as she allegedly asked multiple students to meet her at locations outside of school.

One teenage girl, Tatiana, even claimed that Shin Hye Jeong had sent her a text the night before her arrest “that left her feeling frightened for her safety.”

The students have since been warned to end all forms of contact with Shin Hye Jeong, and the woman has also been banned from the school grounds.

Still, students and parents are voicing their concerns about the situation.

We feel so unsafe and nobody wants to listen to us. Do they not care about us because we’re minorities?

— Student Ethan Calderon

It happened last week and that’s concerning. As parents, we are the last ones to know what’s going on, and we should be the first ones. Our children are in school and we send them there hoping and praying that they are safe — and they aren’t.

— Parent Yaritza Arroyo

Unrelated classroom picture | PBS

Students have since staged a protest at the school, hoping better security measures will be taken for their safety.

Source: The New York Times, ABC and New York Post

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