Earlier this month it was revealed that several students at Berkeley High School had hacked into the school’s computerized attendance system using a teacher’s password and made unauthorized adjustments to attendance records. Four students instigated the scam which involved, in some cases, selling absence clearances to around 50 students. Suspensions followed and talk of expulsion in two cases.

Education expert Lisa Petrides would like to know why the students did what they did, and suggests, in an Opionator column published on Berkeleyside, that BHS may be able to turn the incident around by converting cheaters into achievers — and, in so doing, improve the educational environment for everyone concerned.

Berkeleyside welcomes submissions of op-ed articles of 500 to 800 words. We ask that we are given first refusal to publish. Topics should be Berkeley-related and local authors are preferred. Please email submissions to us. Berkeleyside will publish op-ed pieces at its discretion.

Berkeleyside is Berkeley, California’s independently-owned local news site. Learn more about the Berkeleyside team. Questions? Email editors@berkeleyside.org.