Cheating NJ teacher who gave test answers to students loses license
LINDEN — A former teacher at Linden High School teacher who gave some of his students the right answers on a state standardized test has been expelled from the teaching profession — although he continues to collect pension checks from the state.
Rolando Laguna was a proctor for the High School Proficiency Assessment during the 2013 school year and was accused of helping students with test answers on at least two occasions, according to the Department of Education State Board of Examiners, the body that regulates state teaching credentials.
Because of Laguna's actions, the district was forced to administer a make-up section of the math exam.
"In this matter, Laguna engaged in conduct that evidences his failure as a role model by breaching test security on a State standardized test," the board said in a decision last month.
As a result, the board voted to revoke his certificates last month. He can appeal to the Commissioner of Education.
According to an agenda from the Linden Board of Education, Laguna resigned from his position effective April 1, 2013. State pension records show he retired from the Perth Amboy Board of Education in February of last year with an annual pension of more than $48,200.
In one instance Laguna went over specific test items on the board after his class had taken the test. One of his students took pictures of the work that was written on the board.
When Linden High School principal Antoinette Modrak interviewed two of his classes, she found that six of the 13 students in one class said Laguna had reviewed how to solve problems on the test. Three out of eight students in another class said he had talked about the exam on the day of the test.
Laguna was relieved of his duties as a proctor as a result of the incident and was told to go the Science Resource Center pending an investigation. Instead, a witness said Laguna went to another classroom where the test was being administered and whispered in the ear of a student. The student told investigators that Laguna had told him to "stay out of trouble because Laguna was leaving," the examiners said.
During that same testing period, Laguna was talking to a student he tutored who said there were questions on the test she had not learned about. The teacher told the student to leave the hallway and go into a stairwell where he gave her an "answer sheet," the examiners said. When the student said that was cheating, he told her "his kids did it." He then told her to go back to the test and change her answers.
This continued on the second day of the test when the student told him "I don't want to do it." On the third day, the girl told her parents what had happened and they went to talk to Modrak and give her the paper. The paper had numbers 13 through 32 with a letter between A and D next to each one. Conversations between the girl and Laguna were recorded on video.