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Murrieta Students Suspended For Posting Testing Images Online

Images of state testing materials posted online are considered potential security breaches by the California Department of Education, and could invalidate test scores.

At least four Murrieta students were suspended this week for posting photos of state testing materials on the Internet.

Three students and at least one from were suspended for one day for posting photos of California Standards Test (CST) materials online, a Murrieta Valley Unified School District spokesperson confirmed Friday.

The security breaches were first Wednesday by the California Department of Education.

Many of those images are cropping up on social media websites such as Instagram and Webstagram, said district spokesperson Karen Parris.

Patch searched Webstagram with the term CST and 1,777 images popped up.

The California Department of Education warned educators of the increasing incidences prior to the start of state testing, stressing the security breaches could jeopardize test scores depending on the image posted.

CDE said images were discovered on a number of sites including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Tumblr and Webstagram.

Parris said Friday that in addition to one instance tracked to a Murrieta Mesa student earlier this week, CDE has since tracked two images to High School students and one to Shivela.

Parris said CDE directed the district to conduct an investigation into the occurrences in Murrieta and report back to them.

Student suspensions so far have been for one day, for "defying school rules and disrupting during testing," Parris said.

She added discipline could be for up to five days depending on the content of the image and when it was posted.

"For instance, students who posted before the announcement this week would likely receive one day."

School officials in Murrieta sent notices to parents this week warning them of the consequences, and restricting cellphones or electronics during testing.

Testing continues next week at some schools, and the CAHSEE (high school exit exam) is also being taken.

Parris said students may not realize the seriousness of the situation, as it is typical of teenagers to post photos on such websites throughout a normal day.

"It could very well be they didn't realize the seriousness of the matter," Parris said. "But it could have very serious consequences not only for the student but for the school and the district. The security needs to be maintained for the validity of the tests and the scores."

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