SLED to investigate grade changes at Beaufort High

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SLED to investigate grade changes at Beaufort High

By RACHEL HEATON
rheaton@beaufortgazette.com
Published Thursday, March 8, 2012   |  581 Words  |  

The S.C. Law Enforcement Division is investigating grade changes made at Beaufort High School, a SLED spokeswoman said Thursday.

Dan Durbin resigned as principal after admitting to changing 200 grades for 33 students. His last day was Feb. 24.

The Beaufort County School District said it referred the case, along with data related to the grade changes, to the 14th Circuit Solicitor's Office.

Solicitor Duffie Stone then referred it to SLED, according to a statement from his office. Stone declined to comment.

SLED spokeswoman Kathryn Richardson confirmed the case was under investigation but also declined further comment.

Durbin's grade changes could be in violation of state law, school district superintendent Valerie Truesdale has said.

It is illegal to falsify or alter a high school transcript, according to S.C. Code 16-13-15. It is a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine up to $1,000 or one year in prison or both.

The state Education Department informed the school district of the law, according to J.W. Ragley, department spokesman.

The district was told that the potential violations should be handled locally, which is why it referred the case to the solicitor, said school district spokesman Jim Foster.

"We wanted to make certain that we were acting appropriately and notifying the people we were supposed to notify," Foster said.

Foster said the Education Department has requested all data and reports related to the district's ongoing investigation.

Ragley would not confirm or deny that there is a Department of Education investigation.

Findings from any investigation would be presented to the board's Educator Certification Committee. The hearing would only be public if Durbin agreed to make it so, Ragley said.

That panel could consider any possible sanctions, including the revocation or suspension of Durbin's teaching certification.

If that happened, Durbin could no longer be employed by a public school in the state.

The panel would present its recommendation, which would be public, to the state school board. Ragley couldn't say how long such a process takes.

Durbin declined to comment Thursday.

He has said he changed the grades to motivate students to stay in school. The students, in some cases, had missing grades from previous years but had passed upper-level courses. Changing the grades allowed them to continue on the path to graduation, Durbin has said.

Follow reporter Rachel Heaton at twitter.com/HomeroomBft.

Related content

  1. School district releases data on Beaufort High principal's grade changes; March 6, 2012
  2. Parents demand answers following Durbin's resignation; Feb. 27, 2012
  3. VIDEO: Durbin's resignation from Beaufort High prompts outpour of support; Feb. 24, 2012
  4. Beaufort High principal says he changed grades to help students; Feb. 23, 2012
  5. District: Beaufort High principal changed more than 200 grades; Feb. 23, 2012
  6. Beaufort High principal Dan Durbin to resign Friday; Feb. 22, 2012