SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. — Shelby County Superintendent Dorsey Hopson is speaking out for the first time to WREG about a grade changing investigation at Trezevant High.
“I’m absolutely livid a few adults we know of at Trezevant engaged in this kind of conduct,” he said. “This conduct had a deep impact on our students. Secondly, it certainly undermined the public trust we are trying to build in Shelby County Schools.”
He broke down the 258-page audit with us that delves into grade changing and other wrongdoing at Trezevant High.
“What we know happened at Trezevant was people were giving grades on a report card, and someone was going in, changing it and making it higher on the transcript,” he said.
Over the past four years, hundreds of grades on transcripts were changed from failing to passing. 53 students even graduated without actually earning their diploma.
“One of the reasons I`m so frustrated and angry is because people foolishly and stupidly had an impact on kids they didn’t think about,” said Hopson.
He said his staff is working with the state to figure out what to do with the current and former students who had their grades changed.
“If you’re a kid who graduated in 2012, you could be in theory done with college now. How do we fix that?” he said.
Now, more schools are under a microscope. Hopson said the audit for nine additional high schools that had hundreds of grades changed from failing to passing.
They’ll also be investigated to find out if those changes have proper documentation.
“The board policy is very clear for the process. For example, incomplete and laying out schedules to make up the work,” he said. “If we find more wrong doing then people are going to be terminated.”
In the meantime, Hopson said the district added tighter controls.
“We created a new form when you are going to change grades. It has a lot of sign-offs and checks and balances. We trained everybody who has the ability to change grades and transcripts. We instituted internal audits to make sure the documentation is correct. We have software to monitor it,” he said.
Hopson said the board will further discuss policies and procedures and the power principal’s currently have.
“When you do things that are stupid and selfish for foolish and stupid reasons, it’s going to have a lasting on our kids,” he said.
It’s unclear how long the new investigation will take.
Hopson said if the results uncover wrongdoing at other schools, they will expand their probe ever further.
He expects the board to continue discussing grades at their next meeting.