Cheating allegations at North Atlanta High school are being investigated by Atlanta Public Schools’ Office of Internal Compliance, bringing yet another controversy to the Buckhead school where Superintendent Erroll Davis replaced the principal and five administrators three weeks ago.
Spokesman Stephen Alford confirmed Thursday that investigators are responding to several anonymous complaints that alleged improper grade changing. According to an internal APS memo, the investigation began Friday, Oct. 19, two weeks after the administrators were replaced. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution obtained a copy of the memo, which was faxed anonymously to WSB-TV.
The spokesman said he could not characterize the exact nature of the alleged cheating or the time frame. “It could range from teachers changing grades on student assignments to teachers changing final grades on report cards, or mid-term exams,” said Alford. “We’re not in a position to comment any more than that since it’s an open investigation.”
He said APS has put stricter controls in place since the 2009 Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests cheating scandal that rocked the district, implicating about 180 educators, some of whom continue to appeal their dismissals before internal tribunals.
This week the Atlanta school board moved to delay until December deciding whether to renew the contract of Davis, who has come under sharp criticism from some parents and students for his handling of the six North Atlanta administrators’ removal. Davis’ contract expires in June.
Parent Julie Salisbury said Thursday, “Certainly I’m not pleased with any allegation of cheating or impropriety at the school, given what has happened in the last two years. But I’m pleased they are taking it so seriously, instead of ignoring it. It potentially explains the whys of what Mr. Davis did what he did.”
Allegations of institutional racism have also surfaced at the school. In August, an APS administrator told former principal Mark MyGrant that one of the school’s teachers had been accused of racism. The teacher, Amy Durham, denied the allegation and resigned.