New York Daily News




awakening is in order.

By the latest count, more than 50 Stuyvesant High School students, among the best and the brightest New York City has to offer, have been implicated in a cheating scandal. The alleged mastermind, a junior named Nayeem Ahsan, allegedly used a cell phone camera to photograph questions on three Regents exams and distribute­d the images. Principal Stanley Teitel gave Ahsan the boot while administer­ing rather gently to his legion of grade cadgers.

In the aftermath, much of the student body signed a petition arguing against Ahsan’s expulsion, declaring, “Nayeem does not deserve to have his future ripped out of his hands, simply so the administra­tion can set an example.”

Pardon us, but Stuy High appears to be infected by the sense that the rules aren’t meant to apply to those on the top of the heap.

Stuyvesant was the scene this month of Slutty Wednesday, a protest against a dress code that reasonably calls for covering shoulders, midriffs and undergarme­nts. As well as requiring shorts, dresses and skirts to extend beyond the length of a student’s fingertips. The complainer­s came to school in forbidden garb and went home with their jollies.

Then came cell-phonegate, with the revelation that it is not unusual for Stuyvesant students to bring communicat­ion devices to school in violation of the Education Department’s ban on portable electronic­s.

Peter Galasinao, Stuyvesant’s new PTA copresiden­t, found that arrangemen­t just hunky-dory. He told the Daily News the school looks the other way as long as students keep the devices out of sight. “That’s fair and reasonable,” he said.

No, it is not. Regardless of whether you support or oppose the cell phone ban, responsibl­e adults are charged with enforcing the rules as written, not as it seems convenient. To do otherwise is to engage in a form of, yes, cheating.

Consider, too, that students at less academical­ly lofty schools live in a different universe — one where metal detectors prevent the importatio­n of cell phones and force kids to rent space for their devices in curbside trucks.

In backing the ban over the objections of many parents, Mayor Bloomberg cited, among other justificat­ions, the likelihood of just the kind of cheating that has come to pass at Stuyvesant.

While there will always be dishonesty, cell phones facilitate it and distribute illicit materials at a snap. Introduce the phones into an atmosphere where privilege is assumed, and you end up with mass participat­ion.

A rude awakening is in order, far ruder than now taking place at Stuyvesant.

You can just hear it: These kids have worked so hard to get this far, and now their futures are on the line — Harvard, Yale, Princeton. They shouldn’t lose out just for this.

Really? From those to whom much is given, much is expected.

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