Douglass High School Cheating Scandal Report Released

Tuesday, September 23rd 2014, 7:18 pm
By: News 9

The findings from an investigation into a high school principal accused of grade tampering and falsifying attendance records has been unsealed.

The Oklahoma City Public School District (OKCPS) spent approximately $41,000 to investigate allegations made against Brian Staples, who was the Douglass High School principal in 2012.

Former Douglass High staff members accused Staples of grade tampering, falsifying student records, and manipulating attendance records from 2009 to 2012.

11/13/2012 Related Story: Investigation Into Douglass Principal's Cheating Allegations Is Costly

OKCPS suspended Staples.

At the conclusion of a four-month investigation, Staples resigned.

The findings were sealed to protect students' records, until recently.

A judge reportedly released the documents to public viewing because the students whose records were allegedly compromised have since graduated or moved on from the school.

Portions of the investigative report are still redacted to maintain the integrity of the students' educations.

The 32-page report indicated investigators pored over documents and interviewed 21 individuals, including former Douglass staff members who accused the principal of wrongdoing.

Marcia Muhammad was one of 35 Douglass staff members and led the charge.

According to the investigative report, 35 of 45 staff members "left or were dismissed ... because of performance issues."

The report indicates the allegations surfaced after the dismissals.

"Immediately my mind said, ‘Oh, he is fixing to dress up -- fix up the attendance records,'" Muhammed said in 2012.

Staples was interviewed twice by investigators. He allegedly blamed teachers for the grade changes and attendance records.

But the investigation revealed Staples could not provide documentation to show why attendance records and "the number of grade changes at Douglass far exceeded those at any other high school."

Records show D's and F's were changed to A's.

In the 2009 - 2010 school year, more than 1,300 grades were changed. The following year, nearly 1,200 were changed, and in the year Staples resigned, those numbers were cut in half.

The report also says that no athlete's grades were tampered with or championships unfairly won.

A spokesperson for OKCPS said Tuesday that this issue is behind them and there are several safeguards in place to prevent this in the future.

A lawsuit filed against the school district is still pending. There is an ongoing federal investigation into the matter, as well.