Editor’s Note: This story originally published January 28, 2023. Since then, Hyejeong Shin has pleaded not guilty. “At no time was anyone or any student in danger and this entire case is more about my client wanting to return to a place of safety and welcoming and an environment that she looks back on fondly and nothing more,” Darren Gelber, Shin’s attorney, told CNN affiliate WABC.
A 29-year-old New Jersey woman is facing charges over claims she used false government documents in a ploy to pose as a teenager at a high school, according to police.
Hyejeong Shin was charged with one count of providing a false government document after she allegedly submitted a fake birth certificate to the New Brunswick Board of Education, the New Brunswick Police Department said in a news release Wednesday.
The police department said that Shin provided a fake birth certificate with the intention of enrolling “as a juvenile high-school student.”
Shin does not have an attorney at this time, according to New Jersey Courts spokeswoman MaryAnn Spoto.
Police have not said why Shin allegedly wanted to enroll in the school. CNN affiliate News12 New Jersey reported that students at the school said Shin attended class for four days alongside other students.
Both the police and school district said that state law prohibits a student being prevented from attending school based on lack of documentation or immigration status.
Shin “gained provisional admittance” to the school last week, New Brunswick Public Schools Superintendent Aubrey Johnson said in a statement to CNN.
New Brunswick Public Schools staff members discovered the deception while completing the established vetting protocols and “promptly barred her from entering any district property,” according to the statement.
“Once our staff determined it was dealing with fraudulent information, they immediately notified the appropriate authorities,” said 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.
CNN’s Zenebou Sylla contributed to this report.