There is still no resolution to an investigation that started six months ago into allegations of misconduct at Kingsbury High School.
Although two former Kingsbury teachers said they were asked by investigators in the fall to hand over evidence of grade irregularities, the district and investigators would not comment on whether the probe has widened to include grade tampering.
Shelby County Schools suspended Principal Terry Ross with pay in August, about six weeks after former math teacher Alesia Harris accused Ross at a school board meeting of harassment and instructing another employee to change her students’ grades without her knowledge.
District officials said Monday the investigation is still ongoing and declined to provide further updates such as if Ross was still suspended with pay.
The Memphis law firm Butler Snow was hired by the district to investigate Ross. It’s the same firm that found a “pervasive” culture of improper grade changes at Trezevant High, the first school implicated in the scandal. Two Trezevant employees were fired as a result of the 2017 investigation.
The district has disciplined one other principal since the scandal surfaced at Trezevant High School. Monekea Smith, who led Hamilton High School, was demoted last year after district officials said her login credentials were used to meddle with grades. She lost her appeal last week.
Last spring, in addition to Harris, three other teachers and a school counselor said Ross pressured them to promote students who had not earned a passing grade. Each filed complaints in the spring of 2018 that were kept in Ross’ personnel file, obtained through an open records request.
Shelby County Schools officials had dismissed Harris’ allegations as “inaccurate” in June because the district believed the grade changes were not intentional.
But after Harris came forward, the accounting firm the board had hired added Kingsbury High to its list of high schools it was investigating with high instances of grade changing. The firm’s investigation grew from seven to 11 schools, but ended in September after the firm cited a lack of adequate documentation.
As a result of the investigations, Shelby County Schools has restricted the number of employees authorized to make changes to a student’s report card or transcript, and requires monthly reports from principals detailing any changes to grades. The district has also said it will draft a new grade change policy and implement a new electronic grade-changing process.