The Central York School District expelled two high school students last night after they allegedly hacked into the district's computer system in October.

But parents of the two Central York High School students, Adam Tran, 16, of York and Brandon Diehl, 15, of York, are fighting the expulsions, saying the punishments the school district is doling out are too harsh.

On behalf of their respective sons, Jill Diehl of Springettsbury Township and Maryann Tran of Manchester Township filed separate appeals against the Central York School Board in the York County Court of Common Pleas yesterday, claiming the school district is violating the constitutional rights of the students by refusing to let them return to school.

Central York school officials first suspended Adam Tran and Brandon Diehl on Oct. 18, after the two students allegedly used their computer skills to breach the school district's computer system on Oct. 17, court documents stated.

Court records did not elaborate on how the two high school sophomores hacked into the computer system. But Central York High School Principal Jay Butterfield sent letters to Diehl's and Tran's parents last month saying the actions of the two students "caused a disruption in services and considerable time in investigation, research and resolution of the security issues," according to court records.

Vote to expel: After a disciplinary hearing for the students Nov.


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1, the Central York School Board voted last night to expel the two students, said School Board President Eric Wolfgang. Wolfgang said he was "not at liberty" to discuss details of the case because it involves disciplinary proceedings of two students.

The school district's attorney was unavailable for comment this morning.

But in anticipation of the school board's vote last night, Jill Diehl and Maryann Tran each filed an appeal yesterday afternoon asking the court to declare the expulsions invalid.

In the appeals, Daniel Fennick, the attorney for Diehl and Tran, stated that under rules established by the school district, Brandon Diehl and Adam Tran should only have been punished with short suspensions.

The appeals describe Tran as an honor roll student with no disciplinary record and Diehl as an "above average" student with only a few minor disciplinary problems on his record. The appeals also state that the "harm" done by Tran and Diehl to the district's computer system was fixed in "about 10 minutes" by the district's technical team.

According to the appeals, Central York School District rules state that inappropriate uses of district computers are punishable by a five-day suspension for the first offense and a 10-day suspension for the second offense.

Not charged with crime: Tran's and Diehl's appeals claim that the school district suspended and then expelled them because the school board determined that the students violated state and federal laws when they allegedly hacked into the district's computer system.

But in their appeals, Tran and Diehl claim the school board does not have the ability to determine if the two students violated any state or federal laws, because neither student has been charged with a crime. As a result, the appeals are asking the court to overturn Tran's and Diehl's expulsions.

--Reach Brock Parker at 717-505-5434 or at bparker@yorkdispatch.com.