Hamilton High principal demoted, reassigned to teaching position

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The principal of one of the schools connected to the recent grade changing controversy in Shelby County has been demoted.

According to documents obtained by WREG, Hamilton High's Monekea Smith was found to be in violation of two board policies, including conduct unbecoming a member of the teaching profession and neglect of duty.

"Ms. Smith grossly failed to perform the duties outlined under state law and the responsibilities delineated in SCBE Policy No. 5015 that could reasonably be expected of one serving in the capacity of an educator and high school principal," the report claimed.

The School Board agreed, Smith will be demoted to a teacher position and will face a 20-day suspension.

It isn't the consequence Superintendent Hopson told WREG administrators would face if they were connected to illegal grade changing.

"If we find more wrong-doing then people are going to be terminated," Superintendent Hopson said.

School Board members told WREG termination was off the table, because Smith apparently only gave out her code and an investigation continues to find out more about what happened.

In 2017, a private investigator reported hundreds of grades were improperly changed at Trezvant High. The investigator is now looking at several more schools to see why they have such a high number of grade changes as well.

The charges against Smith claims she gave an unauthorized user access to her computer to make changes to student report cards. She also failed to monitor grades.

Keith Williams, with the Shelby County Education Association, says the Board gives principals the power to set their own grade floors and change grades.

"All records bubble up to the district. All changes are known withing 24 hours at the district level. So what did they know? Who's going to be terminated there?" Williams asked. "The Board should clean up the policies and make them consistent throughout the district. Until they do that, they cannot rightfully fire anybody."

Read: Written Charges Directed to Monekea Smith