Woman, 29, Arrested After Enrolling at NJ High School

Hyejeong Shin attended classes for 4 days after providing false documents, police say
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 26, 2023 5:09 AM CST
Updated Jan 26, 2023 6:31 AM CST

Students at a New Jersey high school say they're feeling unsafe after a woman pretending to be almost half her age was admitted to the school and attended classes for four days before the ruse was detected. Hyejeong Shin, 29, was arrested last week and charged with one count of providing a false government document with the intent to verify one’s identity or age, NBC reports. Authorities say Shin provided a false birth certificate to enroll as a "juvenile high-school student" at New Brunswick High School.

Students tell New Brunswick Today that they saw Shin in classes, and some of them gave her their phone numbers. The students say they suspect Shin may have been trying to lure students into sex work. A source tells the outlet that Shin claimed to be 15 years old, but authorities became suspicious when they couldn't verify a parent or legal guardian. Students staged a protest at the school Wednesday. "This old woman came to the school, she was trying to get kids to link," one student said told ABC7. "It makes a lot of students feel insecure and I get it."

At a board meeting Tuesday, New Brunswick Public School District Superintendent Aubrey Johnson said that while she was at the school, the woman spent a lot of time with guidance counselors who were trying to get more information from her. When staff members "uncovered this woman's ruse," the "appropriate authorities were immediately notified, and the individual in question was arrested for providing false documentation,” Johnson said. He said the school is reviewing the enrollment process and students have been warned not to have any further contact with Shin, in person or remotely. (More New Jersey stories.)

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