Hi. It’s me, Scoop the Cub Reporter, from The Shady Pines Gazette newspaper. Have you heard that another parent is going to jail because they cheated to get their kids into fancy colleges?
Here’s the latest: Devin Sloane, a Los Angles business executive, was sentenced this week to four months in prison for paying $250,000 to get his son accepted into the University of Southern California as a fake water polo recruit.
He is the second parent to be sentenced in Boston federal court in the nation’s college admissions scandal after actress Felicity Huffman received 14 days in prison this month.
U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani also sentenced Sloane to 500 hours of community service over two years and a $95,000 fine.
Remember, the kids didn’t have to have good grades or take tests to get into college the right way. The parents just went around the system by writing a big ‘ole check. They didn’t play by the rules. That’s cheating. It’s illegal.
THAT’S NOT THE SHADY PINES WAY!
Our neighbors here in Shady Pines Story Town have been talking about this situation for months. I decided to check in with our mail carrier, Kimberly Dunworthy, to find out what she’s hearing. After all, she talks to a lot of people every day. I’ll call her cell phone and see where she is on her mail route.
Oh, there she is now. “Hey Kim!”
Scoop watches as Kim measures the distance of a mail box to the street. “Hi ya Scoop. Will you hold that end of the tape measure for me?”
The lanky teenager with the red hair jumps in to help. “Sure. What are we doing?”
Mail Carrier Kim Dunworthy Weighs In
Kim writes something in the notebook she carries. “Well, mail boxes are supposed to be a specific distance from the road. You can’t believe how many people don’t follow the rules.”
Scoop shakes his head. “I had no idea. But, playing by the rules is why I wanted to talk to you.”
Kim closes her notebook and looks straight at him. ” Oh, yea? What’s the topic?’
“Those parents getting their kids into colleges by paying big bucks and going around the system. What are you hearing around town?” asks Scoop.
Kim checks her watch. “It’s a big story. I’ve still got more mail to deliver. Why don’t you ride with me and we can talk?”
“Sounds good to me,” says Scoop. They hop into the mail truck and off they go.
“Just about everyone I talk to was first surprised, and then angry, to hear about the scandal,” says Kim. “You know the folks here in Shady Pines. They try to do what’s right. And what those parents did was wrong.”
Scoop is busy taking notes as Kim talks. “Why were our neighbors surprised?”
The Neighbors Are Talking
Stopping at a mailbox on a tree-lined street, Kim reaches into the box at Scoop’s feet. She grabs some mail and places the envelopes into the mailbox. “Well, take the Mulberry’s who live at this house. They have two kids. They don’t have a lot of money, so they’ve been saving up for years so they can send their kids to college. They were shocked to hear that these people with a lot of money could just write a check and BOOM! Their children get into a top school even if they didn’t have good grades.”
Scoop hands Kim another batch of mail for their next stop. “Isn’t this where the Gutierrez family lives?” he asks.
Before she can answer, a woman walks out the front door and waves at them. “Hi Mrs. Gutierrez,” Kim and Scoop say at the same time. Nellie Gutierrez approaches the truck. “Kimberly, I see you have a passenger today. How are you, Scoop?”
Scoop reaches to shake her hand. “Just fine ma’am. Would you mind if I asked you what you think about the college cheating scandal? I’m working on a story.”
Nellie shakes her head. “Just awful what those parents did. You know the worst thing? They showed their kids that it’s OK to lie to get what you want. What message does that send? I don’t care if you’re an actress like that Felicity Huffman or some business big shot, it’s wrong.”
Scoop and Kim look at one another.
“That may be the best question of all. Thank you so much,” says Scoop.
What Do You Think?
By the time Kim drops Scoop off back at his car, the teenage reporter knows a lot more about what people feel about this topic.
“Wow. I had a feeling this scandal had people talking and boy was I right. Now my question for you is, what do you think?”
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.