• SCS will investigate additional schools with unexplained grade changes following Trezevant report

    By: Kristin Leigh


    MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Superintendent Dorsey Hopson confirmed to FOX13 the investigation into fraudulent grade changes has expanded beyond Trezevant High School, to include other SCS schools with hundreds of unexplained of grade changes.

    At Tuesday night’s meeting, Attorney Ed Stanton said additional investigation is warranted at other SCS schools. He cited an audit that was conducted earlier this year by Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP (DHG), which found hundreds of failing grades were changed to passing grades between 2012 and 2016.

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    “We are engaging (DHG) to look at all of the schools that have abnormally high grade change rates,” Hopson said in an email to FOX13 Thursday evening. “If we determine that any employees improperly changed grades or transcripts, we will take appropriate action.”

    DHG’s original analysis of grade changes was made public this week, and Hopson confirmed they’ll rely on the same company to hold other school’s accountable.

    The schools with the highest number of failing grades that were changed to passing grades, according to DHG’s analysis, were Kirby High School with 582 changes, Trezevant High School with 461 changes, Raleigh-Egypt High School with 429 changes, Bolton High School with 314 changes, and Power Center Academy High School with 308 changes during the four year period.

    While the report indicates the number of grade changes are abnormally high, DHG said further analysis is needed to determine whether any changes were fraudulent. 

    Stanton and two other attorneys were hired this summer to investigate allegations made by the former Trezevant High School Principal’s resignation letter. 

    Ronnie Mackin alleged a grading scandal, sexual misconduct, corruption among district employees, conflicts of interest, and other claims in his infamous letter.

    While the independent attorneys did not find all of Mackin’s allegations to be true, the 258-page report said, “there is substantial evidence of systemic academic improprieties at Trezevant High School,” and that “additional investigation of academic improprieties at other schools in the district is warranted.”

    “There’s concerns that this could be going on at other places,” Stanton told the board. “There may be similar activity going on at other schools.” 

    After Stanton read the results of his investigation to the Shelby County Board Tuesday night, board members were emotional. 

    “Superintendent, form this day forward I’m holding you 100 percent accountable for what happened,” Board Member Stephanie Love said, directing her comments to Hopson. “We need to go back, because I think there are other people that need to be held accountable for what happened to our children.”

    Shirley Quinn, a secretary at Trezevant, was fired following the Fall 2016 investigation of grade discrepancies. 

    The Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday night to terminate former Trezevant Football Coach Teli White, after Stanton’s investigation found he provided false statements about his involvement in the grading scandal. 

    White and his attorneys have declined FOX13’s request for comment, but he has the opportunity to refute his termination by the board. 

    It’s unclear who may be implicated by the investigation into grade discrepancies at other SCS schools, and Hopson did not specify which schools will be further reviewed. 

    You can read Stanton’s full investigative report and other relevant documents at the following link: http://scsnewsroom.com/

    In an email to FOX13, Board Member Shante Avant said district officials implemented policies to prevent fraudulent grade changes in the future.

    Those changes include additional training, a required paper trail to document changes to transcripts and keep employees honest, and investments in new software and additional personnel to provide oversight of employees.

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