By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
Greer's response was, "Rarely do principals have much cause or opportunity to touch cumulative records of students, and I cannot think of one who would [choose to] lose his credential by tampering with them. Principals cannot give illegally authorized competency tests, which are maintained in central administrative offices and have to first be secured."
To this day, L.A. Unified officials won't say why they removed Greer and Anton, and the lack of public accountability is troubling. The reputations of Greer and Anton have been impugned and their careers damaged without a case against them or a report of findings ever being openly presented. Conversely, if they are guilty of serious wrongdoing, they should have been fired, not demoted. Either way, the school district is sending a questionable message to its administrators and the public.
"I stand by my record," said Greer, who has begun his new job as principal with the Baldwin Park Unified School District in the San Gabriel Valley. "My journey in reaching my achievements was long and arduous and everywhere I've been, we've made a positive difference for students."
WEEKLY WEB EXCLUSIVE: Read Greer's entire statement.
L.A. Unified has rescinded no diplomas and notified no colleges about the graduation problems -- on the grounds that students should not now be penalized for the transgressions of adults. Nor have any games been forfeited because of academically ineligible players. (Officials say that Anton Clarkson never became ineligible to play football.) The district claims that employees other than Greer and Anton have been disciplined, but it won't say who, or for what, or whether any employees lost their jobs. It doesn't appear as though anyone did. The district also says it has new policies that will prevent unqualified students from graduating in the future.
District spokeswoman Stephanie Brady proffered two reasons for not releasing the investigation. She suggested that the entire affair was a "personnel matter" for which no public disclosure was possible. The school district has released other investigations, however, and even named names, as it did with its probe into the Belmont Learning Complex. Brady added that Inspector General Don Mullinax has broad discretion over releasing investigation results and that he has decided not to do so.
In sum, the school district contends it has no obligation for public disclosure regarding a scandal in which its own investigators concluded that, over a period of three years, "Large numbers of ineligible students were allowed to participate in graduation ceremonies," and "Many ineligible students received diplomas and district records show them as having graduated." If this isn't a matter demanding a public accounting, it's difficult to imagine what would be.
It's anyone's guess whether pure arrogance or fear of liability is the greater motivating factor. But if this episode represents L.A. Unified's standard of public accountability, then don't put much faith in school-board claims of reform.
One school staffer, not speaking for attribution, alleged that hundreds of ineligible grads were let through. In last year's Weeklyarticle, another teacher, Curt Ullman, said a staffer showed him about 30 doctored student files. School-attendance summaries, which list the number of graduates, contain an intriguing correction for last year. The number of Manual Arts graduates was reduced from 513 to 434. (Current Manual Arts principal Ed Robillard said it's not unusual for these numbers to be adjusted.) At one point, district spokeswoman Brady estimated that about 20 ineligible students had graduated and that 14 students had grades improperly altered. She later backed away from these numbers and declined to offer others.
"Why not inform us?" asked senior Omar Hernandez, who thought highly of both Greer and Anton. "They need to inform us what's going on around the school. I want to know."