29-year-old woman arrested for posing as New Brunswick High School student

New Brunswick High School with an inset 2017 photo of Hyejeong Shin

An adult woman who posed as a teenager was able to attend classes at New Brunswick High School for several days after enrolling with fake documents.

New Brunswick police said that on January 24, 2023, Hyejeong Shin, 29, was charged with one count of providing a false government document with the intent to verify one’s identity or age.

The female city resident provided a false birth certificate to the New Brunswick Board of Education with the intent to enroll as a juvenile high-school student.

“It’s just the latest in a series of controversies at the high school, which has been plagued by violence, and rattled by rumors of threats,” said Charlie Kratovil, the crusading reporter who founded New Brunswick Today.

“Now, community members are concerned about the woman’s motivations, the district is telling students who met with her not to communicate further, and students fear that she may have been attempting to lure young people into sex work,” said Kratovil. “But at their January 24 meeting, the Board of Education glossed over the shocking news, and effectively prevented students and parents from addressing them about it, voicing their concerns, or asking questions about how such a thing could happen.”

Kratovil said six board members attending that meeting had “no direct response to the revelations” but accepted the school superintendent’s report without discussing the matter further.

According to the New Brunswick Police Department, Shin is charged with a third-degree crime, which could result in incarceration ranging from 3 to 5 years and a fine of up to $15,000.

“Pursuant to New Jersey statutes (18a:36-25.1) and guidance from the New Jersey Department of Education, schools are required to immediately enroll unaccompanied children, even in the absence of records normally required for enrollment,” said the Police Department. “Proof of guardianship is not necessary to immediately enroll an unaccompanied child or youth.” “

“Although a school district might request documents such as a birth certificate to verify a child’s age, a school district may not prevent or discourage a child, including an unaccompanied child, from enrolling in or attending school because he or she lacks a birth certificate or has records that indicate a foreign place of birth, such as a foreign birth certificate,” said the Police Department.

Students at New Brunswick High School said Shin attended class for four days alongside other pupils.

New Brunswick schools staffers discovered the deception while completing the established vetting protocols and prevented her from returning to the school.

“Once our staff determined it was dealing with fraudulent information, they immediately notified the appropriate authorities,” said New Brunswick Public Schools Superintendent Aubrey Johnson. “The wellbeing of our students, staff, and community are of utmost importance to us, and we will continue working with the police department and our other partners in addressing this matter.”

Shin is expected to appear in Middlesex County Superior Court for a hearing on February 16, according to court spokeswoman Meghan Carney-Vilela.

This bizarre and still-unfolding story is not the first time something like this has happened.

A 23-year-old Ukrainian man named Artur Samarin was arrested in Pennsylvania after impersonating a teenage high-school student for four years while staying with an American couple on a temporary visa to the United States.

An investigation by the Department of State Diplomatic Security Service, the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General and the Harrisburg Bureau of Police turned up evidence that Samarin had sex with with a 15-year-old girl and he ended up spending 14 months in federal prison for statutory sexual assault plus passport and Social Security fraud charges, before being deported.

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