Some school districts tougher on student age proof - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Some school districts tougher on student age proof

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JANESVILLE (WKOW) -- High profile cases of adults posing as high school students helped to reveal the differences between school districts in Wisconsin when it comes to verifying the age and identity of students.

At Middleton High School, a 21-year old man passed himself off as an 18-year old junior and also used a false name.

He's now wanted in connection to a gang-related homicide in Madison last month.

A survey of select school districts shows policies in the Middleton-Cross Plains School District and the Sun Prairie Area School District only require a birth certificate to verify a student's age when a child enrolls in kindergarten.

Department of Public Instruction spokesperson Patrick Gasper said state law only requires such proof for kindergarten admission and for new, first graders.

But in the Milwaukee and Janesville school districts, all new students must produce a birth certificate to verify age.

"We think it's important,"   Janesville School District Administrator Karen Schulte told WKOW27 News.

"We want to verify...so that the guardianship is verified, that we are talking to the legal guardian.   We just think it's important that what parents are saying is actually verifiable."

Schulte said school district staff has helped student families locate pertinent documents, even going to county courthouses to track them down.

Middleton-Cross Plains School District officials said they are reviewing their policies to determine if they need to be revised.

School District records show the adult attending Middleton High, Ivan Mateo-Lozenzo previously attended Madison West High School, also using a false age and alias.   Madison school district officials have refused comment on the student's previous attendance.

A Madison school district official said district staff members rely on a student's past school records to verify age and identity.   Wisconsin maintains a computer database of student attendance statewide.

Impostor cases in schools have not been limited to Wisconsin.

At Permian High School in Texas, a sophomore star player on the varsity basketball team turned out to be a 22-year old Florida high school graduate.   The team stands to forfeit all its games as a result.

Online reporting by Tony Galli.

tgalli@wkowtv.com

 

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