As the number of students implicated in the Stuyvesant High School cheating scandal widens, the father of the teen allegedly at the center of the ring has come forward to try and explain his son's motivation. Najmul Ahsan, the father of junior Nayeem Ahsan, says his son was desperate for better grades after falling behind because of distractions in his personal life—namely, doctors are concerned he might have cancer, and he was also recently mugged in the subway. “My son couldn’t continue to study as diligently as he used to," Ahsan tells the Post. "He said it’s been incredibly difficult to keep up with his studies, and so he became desperate."
Ahsan maintains he doesn't condone his son's cheating, but also says, "There is a reason he did this. So while I don’t agree with what he did, I have an understanding why he did it." It's unclear how understanding the parents of the other students are so far. Approximately 100 students at Stuyvesant received text messages with answers to this month’s Regents exams. After Ahsan was caught with his cellphone out during a Regents language exam on June 18th, principal Stanley Teitel confiscated the phone and found text messages on the phone indicating that students had been sharing information about the exams.
What's interesting is that these exams are laughably easy and consist of multiple choice questions which barely change each year. As the Times puts it, "What was most puzzling to some students was why their peers would cheat on state Regents exams, which they nearly universally referred to as 'not that hard.'" Yet cheating is reportedly widespread at Stuyvesant, which has the reputation of being the "crown jewel" of the city's public school system. "I don’t cheat,” Zane Sterling, a sophomore, tells the Times. “My grades suffer because of that."
The students who received answers from Ahsan will lose their social privileges next year; this includes, according to the Post, "being barred from school clubs and sports teams, and the senior perk of going off-campus for lunch." Ahsan, the alleged ringleader, is being forced to transfer to another school this summer. But maybe it's for the best, and he'll really make a go of it over at Grover Cleveland!