Houston High School Counselor Fired For Blowing the Whistle On Teachers Cheating for Students
A Houston high school counselor has sued the Houston Independent School District for firing her, she claims, as retribution for her decision to blow thewhistle on teachers and administrators who were lying in order to increase graduation rates. According to the counselor, this was all done in order to keep an acceptable rating from state regulators.
One of the methods used to increase graduation rates was to provide 40 hours of credit for failing students who attended a four-hour service at a local Baptist church, Courthouse News Service reports.
Sam Houston High School counselor Sabrina Norman, hired in 2008, began to suspect something was amiss when she noticed large numbers of students being absent. Scheduling students for classes was part of Norman’s job description,
“On those documents, the students did not earn credits for the listed courses because the students had excessive absences,” Norman’s complaint alleges.
Norman says at least 85 percent failed due to absenteeism.
“It was a travesty,” Norman said, told KTRK-TV in Houston. “There were blatant violations.”
Norman says some of those absent students enrolled in summer courses, even though they never attended classes during the regular semester, and that’s a violation of district policy.
The complaint also alleges that school administrators routinely violated state and federal guidelines which allowed only 15 days after the start of the school year to change a student’s schedule.
When Norman addressed the issue with school officials, they told her that they knew the process wasn’t ethical, it was allowed.
Sam Houston High had been rated as Unacceptable in the Texas school assessment scheme for seven years prior to the implementation of the alleged scheme.
Shortly after Norman reported the violations she had discovered, she was fired. The principal told Norman her dismissal was due to budget constraints. Norman says it was retaliation for blowing the whistle on the school for cheating.
Tags:Absent StudentsAbsenteeismAssessment SchemeBlatant ViolationsBlowing The WhistleBudget ConstraintsCourthouse NewsExcessive AbsencesFailing StudentsGraduation RatesHigh School CounselorHouston High SchoolHouston Independent SchoolHouston Independent School DistrictIndependent School DistrictJob DescriptionSam Houston High SchoolSchool AdministratorsSchool AssessmentSchool OfficialsState Regulators