PHOENIX - Some Brophy College Preparatory students have been exposed as being involved in widespread cheating by the Phoenix private school's principal just hours before graduation on May 20.
"As we prepare to celebrate the senior class in just a few hours, I am most disappointed to have to send you this letter. As difficult as it is to share this news, I have consistently asserted that partnership between parents and the school is essential and that holds true even today, your son’s final day as a Brophy student. Over the last 72 hours, we have become aware of academic dishonesty in your son’s math class," said Principal Bob Bryan in a letter sent to parents.
Brophy sent the letter to FOX 10 on May 21 after a request for confirmation of this story.
The school at first thought it was limited to a small group of students, but learned it was actually widespread, "even pervasive, across several sections of this course."
Some students, Ryan says, would pay classmates to fake their names for online class assignments and submit homework and assignments.
"Sadly, we believe a significant number of the students in these courses have been engaged in, if not at least aware of, this system at some point this semester. It is difficult for me to express my level of disappointment this morning. I am shocked and saddened that so many students – near the end of their journey with us – would engage in such intentional acts of duplicity and dishonesty. I am dismayed that such a system was able to germinate and fester without notice until earlier this week," Ryan said.
All the students involved, with this being discovered so close to graduation, likely won't be held accountable in the proper ways, the principal said.
"The students found to have propagated this system will be held to significant account in the coming days," Ryan said.
Parents are asked to have a conversation with their children to check in and see if they were involved in the scandal, which Ryan says will have lasting implications on the school and administration.
Ryan's letter ended by saying, "Our internal review will include a thorough audit of our assessment strategy across every department to ensure the integrity of our academic program. Finally, I want to acknowledge the awkward timing of this sobering news, which comes on the cusp of an otherwise celebratory weekend. We will continue conversations with individual students and families in the coming days, but do not plan to address this incident this evening or tomorrow and detract from the celebrations the vast majority of our seniors have rightly earned."
Brophy alumni said they heard about the letter and the scandal itself.
"From what I’ve heard, there’s a little over 100 students who were involved. I think it was a math final," said alumni Kyle McFarlane. "Some students were paying other students to take online tests for them."
McFarlane graduated from Brophy just last year and says this year's seniors and juniors were mixed up in this mess.
"There was no camera or anything, so they would just pay other students who were better at the subject to take it from them," he said.
The 2021 graduate says online testing became a norm when he was a junior and senior, just like at most schools, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It was a hybrid environment," McFarlane said. "I was able to take my tests in person, but of course, some kids opted for the online version."
In all, he says he was shocked by the news.
"I was also kind of surprised because I don’t know, I didn’t really expect anything of this scale to come from Brophy," McFarlane said.
The school describes itself on its website as, "Brophy College Preparatory, a private Catholic, Jesuit school that serves young men in sixth through twelfth grades, is committed to educating the whole person — mind, body and soul — and to developing Men for Others to Serve the World."