Monekea M. Smith

Monekea M. Smith, principal of Hamilton High School, has been suspended in connection with the Shelby County Schools’ ongoing probe of grade tampering.

The SCS website posted this statement:

“Over the weekend, our investigators confirmed a grade changing issue at Hamilton High School. As a direct result, appropriate disciplinary action has been taken against that school’s principal, and we are instituting an immediate moratorium on the use of grade floors district-wide.

“Grade floors were meant to ensure failing grades did not go below a certain level, so our students would have a better chance to improve.  They were never intended to allow the changing of grades from failing to passing, and anyone found guilty of doing so will face immediate disciplinary action. Until we can get a handle on how grade floors are being utilized from school to school, it’s in the best interest of our students to discontinue the use of them.  All SCS educators have been encouraged to report issues of grade changing or grade floors at any of our schools.”

Two SCS employees — a former football coach and a secretary — earlier were fired from Trezevant High School, where grades from final report cards had been changed on transcripts that were sent to colleges, according to a report from Dixon Hughes Goodman, which analyzed data from 2012 to 2016.

Last week, Superintendent Dorsey Hopson said improper grading practices would not be tolerated.

“We are going to continue to look to figure out whether there are other people who have engaged in this kind of misconduct,” said Hopson. “If we find people have falsely altered grades or engaged in other egregious conduct, they will be terminated.”

Dr. Vince Thompson

Dr. Vince Thompson as been directed to Hamilton to serve as interim principal.

SCS board member Miska Clay Bibbs’ district includes Hamilton.

“Investigators took a tip, dug deeper and found some irregularities, Bibbs said. They are probing further. The school board is sensitive to these things given the situation at Trezevant.

“For any educators that feel they have witnessed something or participated in something, there is a secure/anonymous hotline for SCS educators to call.”

(TSD freelancer Joy Doss contributed to this report.)