Atlanta Public School Superintendent Erroll Davis was clearly disappointed as he discussed the results of an investigation into allegations of address fraud and recruiting at Grady High School.
"There are 58 players on the football team and 14 have fraudulent addresses. That is almost a quarter of the football team," said Davis.
Davis said he was surprised at the length some parents went to get their children enrolled in the school known for its academics and athletics.
"We had one parent with two signed affidavits with two different addresses for two different students," Davis said. "We had a player on the team who never set foot in the classroom. He played three years at another school, came here as a senior and never saw the inside of a classroom."
"This is not the full story," said Gloria.
Gloria didn't want to use her real name because she said she is scared about what may happen if she speaks out. She admits her son was a target in the investigation, but she said the final report doesn't tell the whole story.
"The one student they are talking about that does not take any classes at this school is a dual enrollment student taking college classes with a 3.4 GPA. He will have an associate's degree this summer. For them to say he didn't take any classes here and all of the sudden he just registered here just for the football team is just ridiculous," Gloria said.
Davis said the facts speak for themselves and the district will look into new ways to prevent fraud going forward.
"The thing that just stunned me was we learned there is a cottage industry in falsified documents such as this, and you can go online and get these things, but we are also disappointed when our own employees and spouses of our employees use those types of documents. That is particularly galling," Davis said.
Some students said that falsifying addresses is nothing new at Grady High School.
"The issue of out-of-district students here has been an issue, a deeply rooted issue, for many years so it's not shocking," said Olivia Volkert, a senior.
Davis also said the school district is looking into more effective ways to verify residency documents that parents of athletes provide. He also said guilty employees will be disciplined within two weeks.
"I want to win," said Davis. "I want to win with integrity, and I will pursue integrity issues wherever I find them."
Meanwhile, many students implicated in the scandal have withdrawn from Grady and will have to find someplace else to go to school. The superintendent also said he would seek reimbursement for tuition from the students in question. Atlanta charges more than $10,000 per year for tuition for students who don't live in the district.
The Georgia High School Association said it is awaiting the district's final report and will review it. The president of GHSA said depending on that report, the team could face severe warnings, fines and be excluded from playoff games.
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Tuesday, April 20 2010 11:21 PM EDT2010-04-21 03:21:00 GMT
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