Grade fixing alleged at high school
Several Whittell High School students have come forward claiming their grades were raised or lowered in the past couple years by Whittell High secretaries.
Kandee Worley and Terri Zager were identified by students as the perpetrators. The Douglas County School District would not confirm or deny if Worley and Zager were involved, but both women are on paid administrative leave.
“The district and the school administration have been conducting a very serious investigation for the last month and there are two employees who have been placed on paid administrative leave pending the investigation,” Superintendent Pendery Clark said, adding district officials have been meeting with students and their parents. “We’re taking it very seriously and attempting to rectify anything that might have been done that was inappropriate.”
Whittell 2000 graduate Christine Novotny was willing to speak out about the issue.
“All I know is grades got changed last year from worse to better and mine got changed from better to worse,” she said. “I knew I only had one C and it was in my senior year. I needed to get a transcript for some reason last year when I was at University of Utah and there was 10 C’s on it. This year it seems like it’s even worse. But I don’t think Kandee did it.”
Many members of the Class of 2001 were informed just before the June 15 graduation ceremony that they would not receive diplomas. Parents and students suspect grade tampering is to blame.
Personnel Director John Soderman would not say how many students did not graduate but said it was not an isolated case.
“My grades were tampered with three times,” said a former student who asked to remain anonymous. “I went into one of the secretaries and showed her how the grade was wrong and she changed it back. I spoke with her and she changed my grades when I came in with documentation to back it up. But why were they messed up in the first place?”
The same student said his college never received his transcripts when he was applying and he ended up having to send them himself to ensure their arrival.
“I think students should keep records,” he said. “This goes out to everyone. You do have to be careful. You never know who is working in the front office.”
Soderman said he hopes more students will come forward with information that may aid the investigation.
“Our goal is to basically deal with the perpetrators,” he said, adding most of the alleged incidents involve grades being raised, not lowered. “It would help to have a bit more information. I think we pretty much know what happened. I will say, it is my belief that whoever’s doing this is not doing it for money. They’re doing it in an effort to be nice but in a way that is inappropriate.”
Clark said the district will be able to release more information once the investigation has been completed.
“Our investigation is coming to an end,” she said. “We will be taking appropriate action as a district and if there have been criminal violations we intend to turn our information over for investigation by the Sheriff’s Department.”
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