Police are investigating a computer hacking by a 15-year-old student who authorities say broke into an office at Downingtown High School West and downloaded files containing restricted information on several dozen teachers and thousands of district taxpayers.

School officials said they discovered the breach of the school's computer network by the student, whose name was withheld because of his age, on May 9, and reported it to Downingtown police.

Police said the files contained information on 71 teachers from a school within the Downingtown Area School District. The school was not identified because of the sensitivity of the case. The downloaded information included the teachers' W-2 forms, which listed their Social Security numbers and home addresses, among other things.

Investigators said the student also downloaded information, including Social Security numbers, on possibly as many as thousands of school district taxpayers.

"We are still early in the investigation and cannot provide further details," Lt. Steven J. Plaugher of the Downingtown Police Department said in a statement last night. "No arrests have been made at this time."

Plaugher said police planned to issue an update Monday.

"We just determined a week ago what happened," said Patricia McGlone, spokeswoman for the district. "The school board will go forward with a disciplinary hearing, which will be separate from the police investigation."

She speculated on the student's intent.

"We think it was more of a challenge to see if he could circumvent the school security," she said, "and to say to his peers, 'Look what I can do.' "

The student shared the information with several students, McGlone said. She said this week that school officials tracked all of those students.

"We recovered his flash drive that he had used, and we believe the information was contained to those few students," McGlone said.

Contact staff writer Suzette Parmley at 215-854-2594 or sparmley@phillynews.com.