The Dougherty County School Board has docked Westover High Principal William Chunn five days pay, issued a letter of reprimand to an assistant principal and suspended a teacher for five days as the result of a recent grade-changing incident at the school. (File Photo)
ALBANY — The Dougherty County School Board voted 7-0 Monday night to accept the punishment recommendations of Interim Superintendent Butch Mosley in a recent grade-changing incident at Westover High School.
Principal William Chunn will remain at work, but will be docked five days of pay. Assistant Principal Brian Collier was given a reprimand. Teacher Kevin Martin was suspended for five days without pay.
A fourth party in the saga, teacher Kevin Fretwell, was scheduled to meet with Mosely sometime Tuesday.
“These gentlemen erred in judgment according to their own statements,” board member James Bush said. “The names of children are not to be given to anyone, even to me. My hope is this isolated incident will never happen again.”
Late last month, an internal investigation by Mosely’s office revealed more than 120 first nine-weeks grade changes in six ninth-grade world history classes taught by one teacher. The Albany Herald obtained copies of student summary grade reports, all of which were from six periods taught by Martin, a first-year teacher
The reports showed that at least 85 percent of the students’ grades had been changed from a failing mark — one as low as zero — to 70. None of the 122 students had a final first nine-weeks grade lower than 70 recorded, although the documents revealed many students had actually failed the first grading term.
Chunn, in his position as principal, was authorized to make the grade changes, but violated state code by failing to include individual grade change orders in the students’ files, which is a violation of state code.
Late Monday night, Chunn issued the following statement:
“In my 28 years of education all within the DCSS, I have always respected our board of education and the enormous task they undertake. As an administrator, one who gives out discipline to students and teachers, I must be willing to accept discipline. I will accept the discipline given to me by our board of education.
“It was only our intent to help a first year teacher and the students within those classes. This teacher has thanked us on several occasions for helping him and we are now encountering academic success in those classes, as the students are now learning and the teacher is enjoying teaching as it was meant to be.”
Chunn then thanked his supporters.
“I am so grateful and appreciative to all that supported and prayed for me and my family as this list was very extensive,” he wrote. “Please know that your thoughtfulness will always be remembered. I am also thankful to my administrative team, faculty, staff and students of Westover for maintaining the academic focus during this ordeal. “
The five days without pay will cost Chunn more that $2,300.
“We are trying to be fair to everybody involved in this mess and also reach a consensus on the board. I think the 7-0 vote means we accomplished that goal,” Mosely said. “(Chunn) felt he was helping the students, but he failed to follow procedure and the situation went from bad to worse.”