A Prince George's County teacher who reported alleged grade tampering in the county school system says students are receiving passing grades despite chronic absences.
"I mean we're passing kids in the county that have 30, 40, 50 - even 70 - unexcused absences in the school year and they're getting a diploma," the teacher told News4. She did not want to be identified.
The teacher said she was one of the whistleblowers that told some members of the Prince George's County Board of Education that schools were changing students' grades and passing children who had missed the majority of the school year.
"County policy says 10 unexcused absences is the limit and we're not enforcing that policy," she said.
Flowers High School Principal Gorman Brown said no tampering has happened at the school and students can earn a grade change through a program called Multiple Pathways to Success.
"You do have the opportunity to take a year-long credit recovery course through the multiple pathways or the compass learning program. So, if you recover an entire course, then you would get credit for that course," Brown said.
Brown said those grades are earned, not given.
But multiple teachers and guidance counselors in the county have said grades are being changed without students earning the credit in an effort to boost the county's graduation rate.
Union representatives told News4 they intend to stand by all teachers within the system, including potential whistleblowers.
"We are supporting our members and that means all of our members and we know that they've worked extremely hard and they continue to work very hard," said Jennifer Epps, the executive director of the Prince George's County Education Association.
The union said its teachers will be cleared of any wrongdoing once the Maryland Board of Education completes its investigation into the allegations. The teachers don't have the power to change grades after they're published, according to the union.