Grading scandal triggers audit of all Shelby County high schools

The state Department of Education says a grading scandal at Trezevant High School in Memphis has triggered an audit of grade transcripts at all Shelby County Schools high schools, reports the Commercial Appeal.

An independent firm is handling the audit, and the timeline “will depend on the scope of the work required,” according to an email from the department. The district-wide audit was a “mutual” decision between SCS and the state, the email said.

SCS Superintendent Dorsey Hopson… posted a message on Twitter that the district “agreed to and welcomed” the outside review “back in November when this issue was first raised.”

The district hired Dixon Hughes Goodman, LLP, in February “to conduct a thorough review of our current record-keeping practices to protect the integrity of student records,” according to the statement.

…A principal new to Trezevant in August, Ronnie Mackin, uncovered discrepancies in students’ transcripts in September. The district launched an investigation and notified the state education department. A clerical staff member, Shirley Quinn, was terminated. Football coach Teli White, who is now the coach at Melrose High, was also suspended five days for allegedly not cooperating with the investigation and possessing some of the altered transcripts on his computer.

Mackin on Thursday sent a letter of resignation to the district and school board, accusing SCS of trying to cover up the scandal because, he says, the person who was the impetus for the grade changes was not held responsible. He also said he fired White for poor behavior in front of the public on National Signing Day.

Mackin’s six-page, single-spaced letter called the situation at Trezevant “dire” and accused district employees of “corrupt, illegal and unethical activities.” He also paints a negative picture of how the school community reacted when he uncovered the grading scandal, including the vandalism of his car on National Signing Day.

The football team, which won the last two state football titles in Class 2A, had to forfeit a game in the middle of last season when the investigation launched.

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