State revokes teaching certificates of ex-Linden High School instructor

State education officials have revoked the teaching certificates of a former Linden High School instructor who was found to have helped several students cheat on the 2013 High School Proficiency Assessment exam.

The Department of Education’s State Board of Examiners yanked the license of Rolando Laguna in an order issued Wednesday, June 18.

According to the order by the board, Laguna was found to have on more than one occasion improperly aided students with questions on the math portion of the test, including giving one student the answers to numerous questions on a multiple choice section.

Linden school district spokesman Gary Miller said in an email to LocalSource that Laguna was employed by the district from 2005 to 2013.

The most serious “breach” committed by Laguna, according to the order, was when — after hearing a student lament that she was unfamiliar with some of the material — he directed her into a stairwell to give her an “answer sheet.”

Officials said they obtained surveillance video of the transaction, as well as the answer sheet from the student, who approached the principal with her parents to express her discomfort with the matter.

The video shows, the order said, Laguna approaching the student in the hallway, guiding her by the shoulder into the stairwell, handing her a piece of paper, talking to her and pointing to the paper.

After discovering the behavior, the school was forced to administer the test again with a different set of questions, the board said.
The order also stated Laguna was notified of the accusations and asked to provide answers and appear before officials, but never did.