SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Caddo Parish Public Schools officials are investigating allegations that student grades were changed at Shreveport's Booker T. Washington New Tech High
a news conference Thursday, Caddo schools superintendent Dr. Lamar Goree said an investigation has been launched following an anonymous tip about the alleged incident.
"Let me be clear: I will not tolerate cheating in any form," Goree said in a news release. "It is not only egregious and unethical, but unconscionable."
“The state puts a lot of pressure on the teachers, on the principals, and on the school systems when it comes to testing, and if you can't stand the heat, you need to get out of the kitchen,” said Caddo Parish School Board member, Curtis Hooks. Hooks said the investigation into cheating and grade changes extends beyond just one school. "I know the scores came up all of a sudden, I know when the investigation started, I know they were looking into the scores of Barret and Booker T."
On the Booker T Washington website, Dr. Russel's bio boasts of accomplishments at another Caddo school. Saying that under her leadership, “Barret Paideia Academy, a school deemed academically unacceptable for over five years was removed from the state's academic unacceptable list in one school year.” “I have to say, I don't know what the findings are, but if it's happened once, you can probably rest assured it's probably happened more than once,” said Hooks..
When KSLA News 12 asked Hooks about a rumor that dozens of teachers had quit while she was principal, he answered: "That's true, that's true. I talked to some of the teachers and they say they really had a problem with her that she didn't know how to talk to them."
The students are the true victims in this, and they and they along the public deserve better," Goree continued. "We are in communication with the Louisiana Department of Education to develop a plan to address grade discrepancies."
Goree said despite the allegations, BTW will be ready for the 2015 school year August 11. He has named Carter Bedford as interim principal of the high school. C.E. Byrd High School and Huntington High School are also lending staff to BTW at this time.
"We can confirm that there were unauthorized changes to student's grades at BTW," Goree said at the press conference.
Goree confirmed that BTW principal Dr. Stacey Russell is on paid administrative leave. He would not specify why and did not say she was responsible for the grade changing scandal.
Goree also announced the placement of interim principal at BTW, Mr. Carter Belford, and said that faculty members from other schools in the Caddo school system will be transferred to the school to help with the transition.
Goree said there would be another investigation to review grade security procedures at district schools.
Bedford has more than 35 years of experience in Caddo schools as a teacher and administrator. He has worked at Woodlawn Leadership Academy, Fair Park College Prep High School and Caddo Magnet High School.