MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Shelby County School leaders are vowing that things will be different after widespread misconduct was uncovered at Trezevant High School, following a months long investigation.
Attorneys discovered dozens of students were able to graduate because their grades were changed and strongly suggested the practice may be occurring at other Shelby County schools. They detailed their findings in a 258 page report, commissioned by the district.
At Tuesday night’s board meeting, the truth came out. Hundreds of kids had grades changed at Trezevant High School and 53 students graduated that shouldn’t have.
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Board members like Stephanie Love said when the students were passed, the district failed.
"We have royally messed over some of these children in this district," said Love at Tuesday's meeting.
Love represents Trezevant High School on the board, but said the problem goes far beyond the Frayser school.
"I can say that we have had several people from the community come to the board and express that," said Love.
Love acknowledged the board plays a big role moving forward, but said the problem is Superintendent Dorsey Hopson’s to fix.
"We have a culture issue at SCS. It starts at the head, and the superintendent has to make everybody in this district uncomfortable in order for change to happen," said Love.
She is made it clear that if things weren’t changed to restore integrity across the district, something would change.
"Either you're going to have to get your employees in order, or we're going to have to figure out something else to do," said Love, addressing Hopson at the board meeting.
Three different law firms spent months investigating different issues.
"I believe it [cost] over $500,000," said Love.
"I think that this is so important, that we have to do what we have to do and make sure that we get to the bottom of everything," said board member Chris Caldwell. "It's unfortunate that this is money that could be spent on the children and should be spent on [them]."
In the report presented to the board, Ed Stanton’s law firm made more than a dozen recommendations. Some of them were as basic as, "SCS should enforce their current grade changing policy."
Other suggested new automated systems to track grade changing as well as whistleblower training.
The Trezevant grading scandal has raised serious questions about accountability and transparency across the district that serves more than 110,000 students.
Now Love said it is on one person to start making changes.
"It is all on the superintendent now. He is going to make it or break it."
FOX13 reached out to Shelby County Schools Wednesday with multiple questions, but we have not heard back.
Superintendent Hopson said he was out of town and unavailable for an interview.
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