Employees punished for Grady High football fraud

The use of ineligible players on Grady High School’s football team has resulted in several school employee resignations, suspensions and reassignments, Atlanta Public Schools said Friday. No employees were fired.

APS also will seek the prosecution of parents who falsified residency documents so their children could attend Grady High rather than their home schools.

At least three families who lived outside the city of Atlanta have been retroactively billed tuition of between $5,000 and $35,000, depending on how long the students were improperly enrolled at Grady, according to documents obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution through an open records request.

A four-month investigation found 17 football players — representing nearly one-third of the team — had been fraudulently enrolled at the Midtown school.

“APS strives to maintain a highly ethical culture; thus, employees who falsified documents or knowingly allowed students to attend out-of-zone schools have suffered consequences,” the system’s statement said. “We must ensure that our sports programs win with integrity and have proper oversight to prevent this from recurring at Grady High School or any of our schools.”

Grady’s football team will have a new head coach and athletic director next year, and a majority of the community assistant coaches involved with the team have been dismissed from the program, the statement said.

Former head coach Ronnie Millen has been reassigned to Heritage Academy Elementary School in south Atlanta, where he will work as a physical education teacher, said his attorney, Michael Kramer.

“We’re disappointed there wasn’t a full exoneration and reinstatement of his coaching position at Grady,” Kramer said. “Coach Millen was innocent of any of the allegations of any wrongful actions of recruitment or residency fraud.”

Millen “hindered the investigation by speaking with parents and providing advance notice of pending actions,” according to the APS investigation report released March 5.

The Georgia High School Association required the school to forfeit games played last season in which ineligible players were used, and Grady can’t participate in the playoffs next season. The Grady Grey Knights finished with an 8-3 record last season after losing in the first round of the playoffs.

The school’s incoming head coach is Earthwind Moreland, a Grady graduate who previously served as a special teams, wide receivers and assistant defensive backs coach for Grady and North Atlanta High. Moreland was a defensive back for the NFL’s New York Jets, Cleveland Browns and New England Patriots.