29-year-old woman charged for posing as teen to enroll at New Jersey high school

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A 29-year-old woman has been charged for posing as a teenager to enroll at a public high school in New Jersey.

Hyejeong Shin, a graduate of Rutgers University-New Brunswick, was charged on Jan. 24 with one count of providing a false government document with the intent to verify one’s identity or age, the New Brunswick Police Department stated in a news release on Wednesday.

Shin allegedly submitted a fake birth certificate that indicated she was 15 years old to the New Brunswick Board of Education to enroll at New Brunswick High School. She reportedly spent four days at the school before officials discovered that her birth certificate was fake.

Shin has been barred from the campus, and her motive is currently under investigation.

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Superintendent Dr. Aubrey Johnson discussed the news in a board meeting held on Tuesday night.

“She was here for four days before being found out and barred from entering district property,” Johnson said in a video posted on Twitter. “All appropriate authorities were immediately notified and the individual in question has now been arrested.”

According to Johnson, the school has cautioned all students, especially those who encountered Shin, to avoid any contact with her “either remotely or in person.”

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Although the 29-year-old attended a few classes, she spent most of her time with guidance counselors.

New Jersey schools require the immediate enrollment of all children, even in the absence of records that verify identity. The rule reportedly helps ensure that undocumented immigrants and students without traditional paperwork are able to enroll in school. Once enrolled, students are given 30 days to provide additional proof of identity and address.

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Shin graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and a minor in Chinese in 2019.

According to her bio on the school’s website, Shin was a learning community scholar at Rutgers’ Institute for Research on Women in the fall semester of 2017:

My major academic interests are language and linguistics, and how they affect human identity and culture. I’m also interested in understanding humanitarian issues in global society. Regarding school activities, I was a secretary at the Global Citizen at Rutgers and was involved with the study abroad global network panel. I can be very quiet, but I do slowly open up and start talking more as I become more comfortable. I engage with people through different ways, mostly through writing or other methods.

Shin is expected to appear in Middlesex County Superior Court for a hearing on Feb. 16.