Laura Rose Carroll is the Florida assistant principal accused of rigging the Homecoming election at her daughter’s high school to ensure the teen would be crowned queen. The case triggered a criminal investigation because the activities involved unauthorized access of student information.
Carroll, who works at Bellview Elementary in the Escambia County School District, accessed hundreds of online student accounts using her district-level credentials, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Carroll was arrested on March 15 and faces felony charges. Her 17-year-old daughter was also arrested and detained at the Escambia Regional Juvenile Detention Center, officials said.
Heavy reached out to Carroll using the email address listed on the school district’s website for comment. We also contacted the superintendent and the principal of Bellview Elementary. This post will be updated once we hear back.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Carroll Is Accused of Illegally Accessing Student Accounts After Investigators Said Evidence Linked Back to Her Cell Phone & Home Computers
The investigation within the Escambia School District began in November 2020. According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, school officials noticed that hundreds of student online accounts had been accessed without the proper authorization. The program, called FOCUS, is the district’s information system containing student data.
Investigators discovered irregularities related to Tate High School’s Homecoming court election, which took place in October 2020. Hundreds of votes were “flagged as fraudulent, with 117 votes originating from the same IP address within a short period of time.” The evidence led to Carroll’s cell phone and “computers associated with” her home address, “with a total of 246 votes cast for the Homecoming Court.”
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement says agents also found evidence that Carroll, who had district-level access to FOCUS, had started looking at high school student accounts beginning in August 2019. They found she had looked at 372 high school records, 339 of which belonged to students at Tate High, investigators said.
2. Carroll’s Daughter Talked About Using Her Mother’s District Account to Cast Votes & She Was Ultimately Crowned Homecoming Queen
Carroll and her teenage daughter are accused of working together to rig the Homecoming election. The teenager is facing the same charges as her mother, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Agents also had witness statements to support the computer evidence. Officials explained in the news release that “multiple students” told investigators that Carroll’s daughter had been talking about the scheme. The teenager had told people she used her mother’s FOCUS account to submit votes for the homecoming court.
According to WKRG-TV, the teen was named the winner and crowned queen.
Law enforcement did not name Carroll’s daughter in the news release about the case. But online newspaper NorthEscambia.com published pictures and names of the Tate High School Homecoming Court on October 31, 2020. The teen, Emily Grover, was photographed wearing the crown. Grover also shared photos from the evening to her VSCO account, one of which appears to be a picture of Grover and Carroll.
but the teen’s name was published by news outlets in October 2020 after she was crowned queen.
3. Carroll Has Been Suspended From Her Job as Assistant Principal at Bellview Elementary School
Carroll has been suspended from her job, according to WEAR-TV. Superintendent Dr. Timothy Smith told the outlet in a prepared statement, “The district isn’t able to divulge any additional information outside of what FDLE shared because of the nature of the investigation.” He shared that Carroll was suspended but did not specify whether that action had been taken before or after her arrest on March 15.
As of March 16, Carroll was still listed as Bellview Elementary School’s assistant principal on both the school’s website and the Escambia County district website. Carroll’s district email address was also still active as of this writing; Heavy reached out to her for comment and the message successfully went through. We have not heard back.
Carroll has been working at Bellview since at least 2017, according to an Escambia County School District Facebook post from September of that year. Bellview Elementary was recognized as a Five Star Award Winning School. Carroll and principal Melissa Groff accepted the award on behalf of Bellview, according to the Facebook post.
It was not immediately clear when the district became aware that investigators had identified Carroll and her daughter as the subjects of the investigation into the unauthorized access of student accounts. Heavy reached out to Groff and Smith to ask that question, as well for more information about how long Carroll had been working within the district. This post will be updated once we hear back.
4. Carroll Has Been Licensed to Teach Elementary Education & Serve as a School Principal Since at Least 2015
Based on records on the Florida Department of Education website, it’s unclear exactly how long Carroll has been teaching. The site lists only her current licenses, which were issued in July 2015 and expire in June 2025.
Carroll is licensed to teach elementary school students and lead “Educational Leadership” courses. She has also been licensed to serve as a school principal since at least 2015.