PENSACOLA, Fla. – An assistant principal at a Florida elementary school and her daughter have been arrested on suspicion of using the mother’s privileged access to the school district’s internal system to fraudulently cast votes in the daughter’s favor for homecoming queen at an area high school.
Laura Rose Carroll, 50, of Pensacola, and Emily Rose Grover, 17, were both arrested Monday, according to a news release from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Videos and photos circulated online and obtained by WKRG indicate that Grover was crowned Tate High School’s homecoming queen in 2020.
The Pensacola News Journal confirmed both Carroll and Grover have been charged with one count each of the following offenses:
• Offenses against users of computers, computer systems, computer networks and electronic devices (third-degree felony)
• Unlawful use of a two-way communications device (third-degree felony)
• Criminal use of personally identifiable information (third-degree felony)
• Conspiracy to commit these offenses (first-degree misdemeanor)
Escambia County School District Superintendent Tim Smith declined to comment on the investigation but confirmed to the News Journal on Monday that Carroll has been suspended from her job at Bellview Elementary School.
Meanwhile, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement confirmed to the outlet that Grover has been expelled from Tate High School.
The agency’s investigation was launched in October 2020 after the school district flagged hundreds of votes for the high school’s homecoming court as fraudulent, and agents determined that 117 of the disputed votes originated in rapid succession from the same IP address, the news release stated.
The fraudulent votes were ultimately traced to computer usage by both Carroll and Grover, who both used Carroll’s district-level access to the school board’s student information system to cast the fraudulent votes, the News Journal reported.
Carroll is also accused of allowing Grover to use her administrative access to the system to access hundreds of students’ personal files, including their test scores, the newspaper reported.
In addition to collecting statements from multiple students detailing conversations with Grover in which the teenager described using her mother’s account to cast fraudulent homecoming votes, the FDLE investigation also determined that 339 of the 372 high school records accessible from Carroll’s account belonged to Tate High School students, WKRG reported.
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