Laura Rose Carroll is the Florida assistant principal accused of rigging the 2020 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 multiple felony charges. Her 17-year-old daughter was also arrested and detained at the Escambia Regional Juvenile Detention Center, officials said. The teen was also expelled from Tate High School, the New York Times reported.
District superintendent Dr. Timothy Smith confirmed to Heavy via email that Carroll is “currently suspended from work.” He said he was “not able to add any additional information about the case as the State of Florida is still working on the matter.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Carroll Is Accused of Illegally Accessing Student Accounts After Evidence Linked Back to Her Cell Phone & Home Computers, Investigators Say
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 in the district’s information system, called FOCUS, had been accessed without the proper authorization.
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 said 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, Emily Grover, 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 using 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, and named Emily Grover as the Homecoming queen. Grover also shared photos from the evening to her VSCO account, one of which appears to be a picture of Grover and Carroll.
3. Carroll Has Been Suspended From Her Job as Assistant Principal at Bellview Elementary School
Carroll has been suspended from her job, superintendent Dr. Timothy Smith confirmed to Heavy. He did not specify whether that action had been taken before or after Carroll’s arrest on March 15. He also told WEAR-TV, “The district isn’t able to divulge any additional information outside of what FDLE shared because of the nature of the investigation.”
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.
Smith confirmed to Heavy that Carroll was promoted to assistant principal of Bellview Elementary School in 2015.
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 also posed that question to Smith but he responded that he could not comment because “the State of Florida is still working on the matter.”
4. Carroll Has Been Teaching for More Than 2 Decades
Carroll has been a teacher for more than two decades, according to the Escambia County Schools superintendent. Smith confirmed to Heavy that Carroll began teaching in the district in 2000 before she became an assistant principal in 2015.
Records on the Florida Department of Education website list Carroll’s 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.
Information about where Carroll attended college or whether she holds specific certifications or advanced degrees was not readily available.
Voter registration records available on Florida’s Department of State website show Carroll is registered with the Republican party in Escambia County.
5. Carroll & Her Daughter Both Face Felony Charges & the Teen Was Expelled
Carroll and her daughter, Emily Grover, are both facing multiple charges, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement:
- Offenses against users of computers, computer systems, computer networks, and electronic devices (3rd-degree felony).
- Unlawful use of a two-way communications device (3rd-degree felony).
- Criminal use of personally identifiable information (3rd-degree felony).
- Conspiracy (1st-degree misdemeanor).
Escambia County inmate records show Carroll was briefly booked on March 15 but was released less than an hour later. Her next court hearing is scheduled for April 8. Grover was expelled from her high school, according to police records cited by the New York Times.