Reaction and Results from an Investigation into MPS Grade Changing


By Jessica Gertler

Montgomery Public Schools Superintendent Barbara Thompson says state and local investigations revealed that 200 students grades have been changed at two high schools in the last school year. Thompson says seven personnel were involved, and they have been placed on immediate leave.

Thompson is not giving us the names of the seven personnel involved because of legality. But she is telling CBS 8 News grades were changed at Lanier and Lee High Schools, and that no teacher was involved.

"There were some grades and other things, transcripts, that were altered and changed in this district. That we know is a fact," says Thompson.

Thompson says she is not notifying the 200 students whose grades were changed, because she says it's not their fault. She says some of them are still in the school system.

"It was the Board of Education that asked for both investigations," says Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange. "From what I heard this morning, the results were very similar."

Thompson says the state and local investigations have concluded that seven school system workers pressured teachers to change grades, and ultimately made the changes themselves.

"That behavior we will not tolerate, and will not condone in this school system," says Thompson. "Seven people. This is a pretty significant number."

Thompson has asked the state to further investigate to see if those involved should lose their license or job.

"That's my fear! They're going to slap them on the wrist and let them back in. Who haven't they let back in?" says former Lee High School teacher Lesa Keith.

Keith is a whistle blower in this investigation. She says she believes more than seven people were involved. 

"I mean I think they should check the other schools, but I think she ought to read Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and go to that part about mirror mirror on the wall," says Keith.

"Our attorneys also want me to point out that there was no indication that the Superintendent had any involvement at all," says Thompson.

In the end, Thompson says she has no idea why grades were changed, but says it had nothing to do with AYP scores, scholarship or athletic purposes.

As for parents, some say the results are concerning.

"I'm surprised. My grand daughter is in the school system. My wife retired from the school system. It's pretty incredible," says Andrew Glover of Montgomery.

"I'm a teacher, and I just feel for our children. It's a very difficult process. A difficult process for our Superintendent, our school board and our teachers," says Cathy Wright of Montgomery.

Thompson says she doesn't know how long the grade changing has been going on, but she says they are adding more safeguards to prevent this from happening in the future.

Thompson says as of now, they have not found any grades being changed at Jeff Davis High School under the current administration.

We did ask State School Superintendent Tommy Bice about today's press conference. He says he has no comment on the investigation.

The State Board of Education is meeting this Thursday morning at 9:30.

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