A Florida teenager and her mother are each facing 16 years in prison for allegedly rigging a high school homecoming queen election last fall.
Emily Rose Grover, 17, and her mother, 50-year-old Laura Rose Carroll, were arrested in March for accessing student records on the Escambia County School District servers. After turning 18 in April, prosecutors decided to try Grover as an adult.
According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), Carroll had access to student records because of her position as an assistant principal at Bellview Elementary School, located in the same school district. District employees contacted FDLE in November when they reported unauthorized access into hundreds of student accounts.
“In October 2020, hundreds of votes for Tate High School’s Homecoming Court voting were flagged as fraudulent, with 117 votes originating from the same IP address within a short period of time. Agents uncovered evidence of unauthorized access to FOCUS linked to Carroll’s cell phone as well as computers associated with their residence, with a total of 246 votes cast for the Homecoming Court,” the law enforcement agency said in a press release. “Multiple students reported that the daughter described using her mother’s FOCUS account to cast votes. The investigation also found that beginning August 2019, Carroll’s FOCUS account accessed 372 high school records and 339 of those were of Tate High School students.”
Caroll circumvented all safeguards. She was up-to-date on the annual “Staff Responsible Use of Guidelines for Technology” training. Users are also required to change their password to the program every 45 days, which Carroll had done, FDLE said.
Grover’s classmates told officials she frequently described her mother accessing records over the years.
“I have known that Emily Grover logs into her mom’s school account in order to access grades and test scores since freshman year when we became friends,” one student said in a statement to FDLE, NorthEscambia.com reported. “She has looked up [redacted] student ID before to [redacted]. She also knows that if she logs into her mom’s account at Tate it will ping that Laura Grover signed in at Tate High School. She looks up all of our group of friends’ grades and makes comments about how she can find out our test scores all of the time.”
“When Emily Grover was a sophomore [redacted] class, I recall times that she logged onto her mom’s focus account and openly shared information, grades, schedules, etc. with others. She did not seem like logging in was a big deal and was very comfortable with doing so,” another witness statement said, according to NorthEscambia.com.
According to Click Orlando. Carroll’s account accessed 372 high school records since August 2019. Of those, 339 were Grover’s peers.
The mom has been suspended from her job but it’s unclear whether or not she has been fired. Grover, on the other hand, has been expelled.
Grover and Carroll each face one count of “offenses against users of computers, computer systems, computer networks, and electronic devices; unlawful use of a two-way communications device; criminal use of personally identifiable information; and conspiracy to commit these offenses. Three of the charges are third-degree felonies.
According to a report from The Daily Caller, Carroll is out on a $6,000 bond, while her daughter is out on a $2,000 bond.
The state attorney’s office is prosecuting the case.
Beth Baumann is a Political Reporter and Editor at The Daily Wire. Follow her on Twitter @eb454.
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