Shelby County Schools Report On Grade Scandal

MEMPHIS, Tenn (localmemphis.com) - Educators changed failing grades to passing grades for students. That's what Shelby County Schools announced Tuesday night about the grading scandal investigation at Trezevant High School. 

Back in June, former Trezevant Principal Ronnie Macklin made claims of grade tampering and unethical behavior at the school.  The investigation is a result of those allegations. 

Shelby County Schools hired three firms to investigate the matter.  Investigators concluded several of Macklin's allegations regarding unethical practices were indeed true.  A total of 53 students received unearned diplomas from 2012 to 2016. 

Keith Williams represents the Memphis, Shelby County Education Association and says it was disheartening to hear of the findings. 

"We cannot allow principals, administrators, superintendents, and no one to be above policy," Williams explained. "The only blame you can place on this is the elected school board. They set policy and they hold the superintendent accountable to following it."

Butler Snow, one of three firms investigating the matter, says they found substantial evidence of educators changing failing grades to passing grades for 53 students, without requiring students to repeat the courses they failed. Local 24 News also learned it wasn't just grades for athletes that were changed. 

"It just shows that it goes beyond motivation about sports, and I think regardless of the motivation, you never should change a child's grade and they should get the grade that they earned," said Chris Caldwell, Shelby County School Board member, District 1.  

The district is now focused on rebuilding trust in students and parents. 

"We're going to look at the policies. Then we'll also make sure the policies are better communicated with all the staff, so monitoring and just better educating people," Caldwell said.  

"As an academic institution, we expect our employees to always maintain the highest levels of honesty and integrity with regard to our academic records. I sincerely regret the negative impact that this situation had on students and families," said Superintendent Dorsey E. Hopson. “However, I'm confident that after the extensive investigation, and more than 60 individuals being interviewed, the findings will allow us to move forward and support our students appropriately.” 

The district is training its staff more, and monthly reports are now required for all schools to check for changes to transcripts and ensure proper documentation. 

 


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