Thursday, November 12, 2015

CCSD Lawsuit Reveals Silencing of Whistle-Blower

Valerie Paquette, a former teacher at North Charleston High School, couldn't remain silent regarding what she saw as fraud--fraud in the handling of diplomas to enhance NCHS's graduation rate, so she filed a lawsuit last May against the Charleston County School District.
"Valerie Paquette, a computer and business teacher at North Charleston High, filed the lawsuit May 27 in the Court of Common Pleas, claiming that school administrators retaliated after she went to the superintendent with concerns about questionable advantages the school gave some failing seniors, allowing them to graduate.
"One example Ms. Paquette gives involves a student who was given back a final exam to complete questions that had been left blank, which resulted in the grade being changed from failing to passing after the test deadline was up. In another case, she cites the example of a failing student who was allowed to pass an “entire year course” with a computer course that “allegedly took place entirely in the weekend before graduation.”
Paquette’s lawsuit also alleges that North Charleston High School Principal Robert Grimm “instructed her to give no student a grade below 61.” 
"The lawsuit says that Mr. Grimm’s contract contains provisions for goal-based bonuses, one of which includes an award for improving the school’s graduation rate.  According to The Post and Courier, “the school’s graduation rate has [increased) from 45 percent in 2012 to 53.9 percent in 2014,”and the school’s pass rate on end-of-course exams rose from 42 percent in 2012 to 65.6 percent in 2014. 
"The plaintiff says that after she expressed her concerns to the superintendent, she received letters of “formal reprimand” from Mr. Grimm and the Associate Superintendent and was labeled as “insubordinate” in another written notice.
Ms. Paquette says she was then reassigned to a Charleston middle school for the 2014-2015 academic year.
As a teacher, she saw sloth rewarded, students graduating at any cost. If a credit can be earned in a weekend, why stop there? Paquette, who has an MBA and more than 10 years of teaching experience, spoke up. Look what happened. Her career in teaching was now tainted with reprimands virtually guaranteeing that she could not get a job in another district. 

The associate superintendent didn't care; the principal didn't care; and the superintendent and school board didn't care. Why should she?

Amazingly, some idealists believe that a high school diploma should mean a person has attained a certain level of education, not merely a piece of paper. Look what precedent has been set by CCSD for any other teacher who has concerns. Teachers have no right to freedom of speech, or do they?

1 comment:

Tony Geinzer said...

I'd revere Mrs. Paquette as a hero if what she said was true. I feel frustrated that enough hasn't meant enough with Charleston County and I'd feel that there'd be adminstrators put on trial left and right like Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, East St. Louis, Newark, Jersey City, Compton, Dallas and Los Angeles. I am all for diplomas, but, school isn't always an option. Even though I've been a Regular Charleston Critic because of my old Principal, but, I want to see the truth, too, even though the ethics is as old as old tuna.