District attorney investigating Whittell grade changes

ZEPHYR COVE - Grade tampering at Whittell High School is under investigation by the Douglas County District Attorney's Office.

District Attorney Scott Doyle said his office received information about Whittell's grade changes last week.

"School authorities met with us last week and reported the results of their investigation," Doyle said. "It's under investigation here with the district attorney's office and with the sheriff's department. It would be premature for us to say anything else at this point."

As of July, transcript audits showed 21 cases in which grades were changed at Whittell in the past two years.

Two Whittell secretaries have been on paid administrative leave since the issue arose. District officials would not confirm or deny if the women are involved in the tampering, but several students claim their grades were changed by one of the two secretaries on leave.

Tom Susich, counsel for Douglas County School District, said the district likely will take action within the next 10 days or so.

"I really can't tell you too much," Susich said. "We've pretty much completed the investigation. We're having it reviewed and then we will make a decision on what course of action to take. The information has been provided to the district attorney's office for their review, as well. As far as the district is concerned, we hopefully will have a decision in regard to our course of action in about 10 days. As for the other agencies involved, I don't know."

District Assistant Superintendent of Personnel Services John Soderman reported last month that grades were changed on transcripts of two students from the class of 2002, nine students who graduated in 2000 and 10 students who graduated in June.

According to Soderman, the district discovered discrepancies by comparing freshman and senior year transcripts. It was determined tampering occurred in cases in which, for example, a senior year transcript showed different first-year grades than a freshman year transcript.

The secretaries in question have not returned calls.

Soderman and Superintendent Pendery Clark were unavailable Monday and Tuesday for comment.


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