Woman, 29, enrolled in New Jersey high school as she ‘missed’ teenage days

Hyejeong Shin (ABC7)
Hyejeong Shin (ABC7)

A 29-year-old woman who allegedly used fake documents to enrol in a New Jersey high school meant no harm and was only trying to recreate her happy teenage days, a court heard.

Hyejeong Shin, who is originally from South Korea and moved to the United States when she was 16 to attend private boarding school, pleaded not guilty to a charge of providing a false government document on Monday.

Her lawyer, Darren Gelber, said his client knows she erred with her plot to re-enrol in high school and has applied to enter a pretrial intervention programme that could eventually lead to a dismissal of the criminal charge against her.

Shin is accused of using false documents to start at New Brunswick High School in January, where, according to authorities, she befriended some other students, got their phone numbers, and continued to communicate with them even after she was barred from the school grounds.

Officials have since advised students not to contact the Rutgers University graduate.

The woman’s matriculation at the high school prompted some to express concerns about school security. The woman’s lawyer, however, said she was only trying to return to “a place of safety and welcoming and an environment that she looks back on fondly” when she resumed her high school career.

Shin is scheduled to appear in court again in May.