With the ink on a signed biometric ban in Florida still fresh, a bizarre case of identity fraud has been uncovered in a Longview, Texas high school.
As reported by ABC News, a 34-year old woman had successfully posed as a sophomore for the better part of the academic year before her true identity was discovered last week. According to school officials, the woman was able to dupe teachers, fellow classmates and even a local woman who took her in.
Charity Anne Johnson was arrested after allegedly enrolling at the school in October as 15-year old Charity Stevens. At the time of enrollment at the school, Johnson reported having no official transcripts, claiming instead that she had been home schooled.
“She came in with a guardian; there was no reason to be suspicious,” says Stuart Newlin, principal of New Life Christian School. “Usually, parents come in, they fill out the paperwork and we take their word for it.”
As for the local woman who provided a home for the 34-year old imposter, Johnson claimed her as a legal guardian to further throw school officials off the scent. Both Johnson and her newly acquired legal guardian met while working at the same fast food restaurant, but suspicion arose following a simple background check.
Police have confirmed that Johnson is 34 years old, despite jail records listing her as being 31. The reasons for Johnson’s actions remain unknown, but her ability to blend into the school’s community is troubling nonetheless.
Johnson was arrested for failure to identify and giving false information. She remains in the Gregg County Jail on $500 bond.
While this story can certainly be filed under “bizarre” in the record books, the simple fact remains that an unauthorized adult was allowed uninhibited access to school students without causing so much as a blip on the radar. Cases like this merit the use of stronger student identification practices, regardless of the size of the school or its population.