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Woman charged after pretending to be high school student for entire year
Featured Image Credit: ABC

Woman charged after pretending to be high school student for entire year

Boston's mayor said the case was 'extremely disturbing'

A 32-year-old woman has been criminally charged after pretending to be a high school student for an entire year.

Shelby Hewitt, from Canton, Massachusetts, used false identification and paperwork to enrol as a student at three different schools in Boston over the past year.

Boston school superintendent Mary Skipper notified families last week that an adult woman had falsely registered as a student at Jeremiah E Burke High School, Brighton High School and English High School, by ‘utilizing the student transfer process and enrolling under multiple pseudonyms’.

Brighton High School.
Google Maps

Her letter to families said school staff had not ‘identified any incidents of harm to students or staff’ in relation to Hewitt.

“I’m deeply troubled that an adult would breach the trust of our school communities by posing as a student,” Skipper also said at a school committee meeting on 21 June, adding: “With any major incident we will continue to review all of our systems and processes to make sure that what we did was correct.”

She commended staff for flagging their concerns to police after identifying ‘irregularities with the student’s enrollment’.

A DCF spokesperson said last week that Hewitt had previously worked as a social worker at the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families.

Her employment stopped in February 2023 after joining the agency in 2016.

Hewitt has now been charged with document forgery and identity fraud, according to a copy of the criminal complaint obtained by a number of news outlets including WBUR.

Students at Jeremiah Burke High School said she went by the name ‘Daniella’, claiming to be an immigrant from Colombia who was in the foster system.

While at English High School, Hewitt reportedly went by the name ‘Ellie Alessandra Blake’.

Commenting earlier this week, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu told WBUR’s Radio Boston: “It’s extremely disturbing. If someone told me that an adult, many decades removed from being in some of these age-appropriate settings was back in school, it’s concerning.”

Jeremiah E Burke High School.
Google Maps

UNILAD has reached out to Boston Public Schools for comment.

Earlier this month, a 28-year-old woman in California was arrested after enrolling in a school as a 17-year-old student.

Hahnville High School in Boutte, Los Angeles, received reports of a woman above the age of 18 attending its 2022-2023 year and began an internal investigation.

After the school's administration handed over its findings to authorities on Monday 29 May, police arrested a 28-year-old woman named Martha Jessenia Gutierrez-Serrano, as well as her mother, 46-year-old Marta Elizeth Serrano-Alvarado.

St Charles Parish Sheriff's Office took to Facebook to reveal details of the arrest, saying: "Through investigation [obtaining search warrants for the home of Gutierrez-Serrano and Serrano-Alvarado], Detectives learned Gutierrez-Serrano’s mother, Serrano-Alvarado had enrolled her in school using a fraudulent passport and birth certificate.

"Detectives applied for and were granted arrest warrants for Marta Elizeth Serrano-Alvarado and Martha Jessenia Gutierrez-Serrano.

"This investigation was conducted with the full cooperation of the St. Charles Parish Public School System."

Topics: US News, Crime