Identical twins Kayla and Kellie Bingham accused of cheating on a medical school exam in 2016 have been handed $1.5million in damages by the college in South Carolina.
Kayla and Kellie, then 24, were in their second year of studies at meds school when they took the test. Kellie said they were given assigned seats “about four or five feet apart” at the same table — but that they couldn’t see each other’s papers.
A faculty member who was remotely monitoring the test observed that the twins “were progressing similarly through their exam and had many of the same incorrect answers,” the twins alleged in court documents filed ahead of last month’s trial.
They also claimed that the proctor had been told to keep an eye on them and took notes on their behaviour during the test, noting how they’d “nodded their heads during the examination, and occasionally pushed back from their computers, looked around the classroom, or shuffled their scratch paper.”
Two weeks after the exam, the faculty members accused them of cheating, they were initially found guilty by the school’s Honour Council. However, on appeal the decision was reversed.
“We thought it had gone away,” Kellie said but Kayla alleged that wherever they went, “people would gossip about us and we’d get a cold reception.”
The hostility the twins faced among colleagues forced them to abandon medical school and their plans for careers in medicine altogether.
After withdrawing from the school in September 2016, the twins filed the lawsuit in 2017, “We weren’t going to roll over and let our reputation be ruined.” remarked Kayla.
Both sisters then went on to enrol and completed law school last year, graduating with similar grade point averages.
“Our verdict has given us hope again as we look ahead to our future and careers,” Kellie said.
“Hopefully our case will ensure other twins are not victimized like we were,” she continued.