An assistant principal in Cantonment, Florida, has been arrested along with her 17-year-old daughter over allegations that the pair used the mother’s access to student records of high school students to cast false votes in the homecoming queen election that the daughter ended up winning.
What are the details?
Laura Rose Carroll, 50, is an assistant principal at Bellview Elementary School, and her daughter ran for homecoming queen last year as a senior at Tate High School. The teen was crowned queen on Oct. 31.
Both schools are in the Escambia County School District, where administrators have access to a program called FOCUS, which holds student records. In order for students to cast votes for homecoming court, they must provide their school identification numbers and birth dates, The Washington Post reported.
According to the outlet, “some time after the votes had closed” for the homecoming court elections, Election Runner — a program Tate High School uses for student voting — notified the school that a significant number of votes had been flagged as fraudulent.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement stated in a social media post:
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.
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.
Carroll was arrested with a bond set at $8,500 Monday, and has been suspended from her job. Her daughter was taken into custody and placed in a juvenile detention center, and has been expelled from school.
ABC News reported that the pair “now face third degree felony counts of offenses against users of computers, computer systems, computer networks, and electronic devices, unlawful use of a two-way communications device, and criminal use of personally identifiable information. They will also face a first degree misdemeanor count of conspiracy to commit these offenses.”