Athletes' grades illegally changed to meet eligibility at area schools

Oct. 19, 2006, midnight | By Adam Yalowitz | 17 years, 4 months ago

After MCPS investigation finds ineligible students on athletic teams, 8 schools to forfeit games

In response to allegations that the grades of five students at Einstein were inappropriately changed so that the students could remain on sports teams, the MCPS Office of School Performance (OSP) has completed a thorough review of all 9,000 athletes at each of the 25 high schools in the county.

The report, commissioned by Deputy Superintendent Frieda Lacey, found that the grades of five students at Einstein were illegally changed to allow students to play on sports teams. Nineteen other ineligible students at Einstein were also playing on another 12 athletic teams. Additional discrepancies have been attributed to human error, not purposeful grade changes.

Several personnel face investigation regarding the inappropriate grade changes.

In an Oct. 18 memo to the Board of Education, Superintendent Jerry Weast outlined the measures that MCPS is taking in response to the findings of the investigation. "All of the games where ineligible students played will be forfeited," wrote Weast. "Ineligible students will be removed from the teams, and their grades will be returned to their original status."

MCPS Chief Operating Officer Larry Bowers identified eight schools that currently have a total of 46 ineligible students playing on sports teams.

The schools affected were Bethesda-Chevy Chase, with five ineligible students; Winston Churchill, with two students; Einstein, with 24 students; Quince Orchard, with two students; Walter Johnson, with three students; Watkins Mill, with six students; Wheaton, with three students; and Walt Whitman, with one student.

MCPS notified students, parents and staff today of the findings of the investigation.

According to Bowers, 99.5 percent of student athletes were not affected by the findings of the investigation. "It is clear from the review that the vast majority of our high school athletic programs and teams are following the eligibility rules," wrote Bowers in an Oct. 18 memo to Weast.

Bowers noted that while he knows that the forfeited games will upset to many students who did not violate school policy, MCPS must respond punitively. "We understand that the forfeitures will be disappointing," wrote Bowers. "Nonetheless, MCPS is pursuing the right course of action. The academic integrity of our school system and each of its individual schools is paramount and cannot be compromised."

For the full story, check out the next print edition of Silver Chips in early November.

Adam Yalowitz. Adam Yalowitz is just silly. You may find him asking you how much sleep you got last night and then smirking when you say "five hours," because he's always slept less, no matter what. When he does sleep, he dreams of Barack Obama, Tastee Diner … More »

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