SCS principal suspended, grade floors banned after grading issues at Hamilton HS

SCS principal suspended, grade floors banned after grading issues at Hamilton HS

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A High school principal is suspended and Shelby County Schools has banned the practice of grade floors.

One former SCS teacher, Mike Pleasants, spoke to FOX13 in June about issues he experienced while at Hamilton High School.

More than six months later, SCS suspended Hamilton High School principal Moneka Smith.

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Pleasants worked at Hamilton High School in 2016 and noticed his grades were changed at the end of the year.

“I was really concerned about the issue,” said Pleasants.

Pleasants filed a formal complaint through the SCS tipline and told the superintendent and Board to their face.

The attorney’s investigating Trezevant also looked into Pleasants concerns.

“I got to speak with the legal team over there, show them the documentation and just explain how these things happened,” said Pleasants.

Last week, SCS acted on the interviews. Hamilton principal Moneka Smith was suspended.

SCS then banned the practice of grade floors, meaning teachers must give students the score they earn.

“I know that that happens at most schools, and it's just kind of the norm,” said Pleasants. “I think that's one of the major issues that we weren't really talking about at the beginning of this whole process.”

For the first time, SCS has acknowledged issues outside of just Trezevant.

“We need to make it very clear that these things are inappropriate, they should not be done, and that cutting corners in this way is not normal,” said Pleasants.

Hopson said any teacher caught violating policies will be terminated.

SCS has said they want more employees like Pleasants to come forward if they notice wrongdoing.

“This doesn't solve every problem at Shelby County Schools, but this was a definite positive step forward.”

It is unclear how many other schools SCS is actively investigating.

We know of at least nine other schools under the microscope, after they were flagged for having an unusually high number of grade changes.

Shelby County Schools sent FOX13 the following statement:

Over the weekend, our investigators confirmed a grade changing issue at Hamilton High School. As a direct result, appropriate disciplinary action has been taken against that school’s principal, and we are instituting an immediate moratorium on the use of grade floors district-wide. Grade floors were meant to ensure failing grades did not go below a certain level, so our students would have a better chance to improve.  They were never intended to allow the changing of grades from failing to passing, and anyone found guilty of doing so will face immediate disciplinary action.  Until we can get a handle on how grade floors are being utilized from school to school, it’s in the best interest of our students to discontinue the use of them.  All SCS educators have been encouraged to report issues of grade changing or grade floors at any of our schools.