Officials vow ‘thorough investigation’ at Whittell | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Officials vow ‘thorough investigation’ at Whittell

William Ferchland

Interviews will begin today by officials investigating a teacher’s accusation that Whittell High School Principal Janie Gray falsified student records.

Douglas County Superintendent John Soderman said he reviewed some of the complaint filed by math teacher Michael Kiger to the Nevada State Department of Education.

“We’re on it,” Soderman said. “We’re going to hopefully start doing some interviews (today) and get to the bottom of it.”

Kiger alleges Gray changed records to reflect five students had taken one of his math classes to meet requirements for the federal No Child Left Behind law.

Soderman wouldn’t give an exact timeline of the investigation or where interviews will take place.

“I’ve been assigned to investigate the charges and I will be doing a very thorough investigation,” said Rich Alexander, assistant superintendent for human resources.

Alexander said Thursday: “I guess that’s all I can say.”

State Deputy Superintendent Gloria Dopf said she will check the status of the investigation next week.

Some Whittell students who knew of the story were surprised to find issues of the Tahoe Daily Tribune that would normally be at the school missing Thursday morning.

“Every morning there is a stack of newspapers on the front counter,” said senior Jenna Hayes, who added students would regularly browse the newspaper before class.

“Since it is a public paper and since all students have the right to read the Tahoe Daily Tribune we were very upset,” Hayes said.

Courtney Greenwood, senior class vice president, said she and another student went to Safeway to purchase some editions. Copies were made off campus and distributed when they returned to school, Greenwood said.

“We just thought it was important that the students saw it,” Greenwood said.

The senior said she was in a counselor’s office when an upset Gray appeared.

“(Gray) was saying it was out of line and rude and none of the students’ business but it’s our school,” Greenwood said.

Gray, who is the fifth principal since 1998, said she didn’t touch the newspapers but had them moved to the teachers’ lounge. She said she didn’t want the story interfering with instruction.

Hayes, who is the student site accountability representative and works with Gray every week on school improvement plans, said she was surprised upon learning about the allegation.

“She is very strict but in the position she’s in you can’t expect her not to be strict,” Hayes said. “She is new and not 100 percent used to how our school works … but overall she’s done positive stuff.”

Students were angry with Gray who was quoted as saying “It’s been quite the year but it always is at Whittell.”

Parent Janice Shaw was also upset about the quote and wondered why accusations of wrongdoing at Whittell should come as no surprise to school officials.

“I don’t like to give up on anything but I’m really losing patience because our childrens’ education in the high school years are being compromised,” Shaw said.

– E-mail William Ferchland at wferchland@tahoedailytribune.com.


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