Bryan Cohen Mar. 11, 2013, 6:20pm

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. (Legal Newsline) - New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced a settlement Friday with Dutchess BOCES, a public shared education organization, resolving allegations of false advertising and deceptive practices.

In 2012, Schneiderman's office received complaints from the parents of a student who enrolled in a welding course at BOCES. BOCES allegedly advertised an affiliation with the American Welding Society, but the organization taught a course that did not allow students to qualify for a AWS certificate of confidence.

"When school officials engage in deceptive practices it sends the wrong message to our youth," Schneiderman said. "These figures are role models for our children and my office will hold to a high standard of conduct."

In 2006, BOCES registered as an AWS School Excelling Through National Skill Standard Education program, also known as the SENSE program. SENSE schools are supposed to follow a curriculum provided by AWS and administer a year-end AWS National Competency Exam. After registering the welding course in 2006, BOCES allegedly did not continue to change the curriculum, failed to update the exam and never reported comprehensive results to AWS. As a result, the BOCES welding course did not comply with tests provided by AWS.

BOCES also allegedly gave certificates to students that contained an AWS logo. AWS never authorized the use of its logo on the BOCES certificate.

Under the terms of the settlement, BOCES will pay $5,000 in civil penalties and $2,000 for attorney costs, reimburse the welding course tuition for one student who paid for the course, no longer represent or imply that welding students will be offered the AWS National Competency Exam unless it is current and the course meets current AWS standards, and no longer photoshop the AWS logo on certificates it issues to class graduates.

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