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Top school hacker wins job battle

Date: April 11, 2005
Source: Manchesteronline
By: Neal Snowdon

A TEACHER at a top private school who was disciplined after exposing security flaws in its computer system has won his unfair dismissal claim.

A tribunal ruled that Mike Evans, 28, was sacked by Bolton School after hacking into its computer system to show how easily unauthorised users could gain access.

The amount of compensation will be decided later.

Mr Evans, of Snowdon Drive, Horwich, is an old boy of the school, which charges fees of up to 7,494 a year, and became a technology teacher there after university.

He added: "I was sad that things happened the way they did. I enjoyed myself at the school, but the family atmosphere between staff and pupils started to disappear and I do not believe that I am the only member of staff who has been unhappy there recently."

The tribunal heard that Mr Evans had voiced concerns about security on the school's new computer system in 2003.

He had been worried that pupils needed only to see a member of staff typing in the password to gain access to all the school's confidential information.


Mr Evans saved data from a school PC on to a floppy disc which he used on his home computer to force the school system to surrender its main password. He then went into school the next day and used a student's PC to change the password before telling senior staff what he had done.

Three days later he was found guilty of gross misconduct at a hearing held by headteacher Mervyn Brooker and given a written warning. Mr Evans then resigned after seven years' service, feeling he had been treated unfairly.

The tribunal said "a fundamental breach of contract" led to him resigning which, by law, can be classed as unfair dismissal. It added that Mr Brooker had clearly already determined the guilt of the claimant when the disciplinary hearing began.

Mr Evans said today: "I thought I was treated appallingly. I thought there was an arrogance about the school. They were very happy to trust the system, but when it was shown that it wasn't right for what it was supposed to be doing they had to save face and find a fall guy - and that was me.

"The school was more keen to discipline the person who broke into the system to show its faults than they were to fix it."

Should Mr Evans have been reprimanded? Have your say.
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Discussion is closed - view comments archieve
2005-04-11 21:11:35 - mr.evans should have shot up those bitches me
2005-04-11 21:05:16 - i think Mr.Evans was treated very unfairly... Joe Blow
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