Some Furr High School students' grades changed to feign improvement, probe finds


HOUSTON – The grades of some Furr High School students were changed in an effort to make it appear they were doing better in class than they actually were, an investigation found.

Officials at the Houston Independent School District said their outside investigation of the northeast Houston school was launched after concerns were voiced about student attendance, grades and transcripts.

Officials said the probe found that grades were changed by administrators, sometimes without the teacher’s knowledge. Some of the changes happened at the end of the semester to give students passing grades that they had not earned, officials said.

The investigation also found that teachers were also instructed not to give grades below 50 percent, regardless of how the student performed or completed tests and assignments, officials said.

Attendance records were also changed to give students class credit, even when they had not met the attendance requirements, officials said the investigation found.

“Furr High School administrators engaged in conduct that contradicts the district’s mission of providing quality instruction and producing global graduates,” district leaders said in a statement. “The district is addressing these matters to ensure students receive appropriate instruction and guidance.”

Officials would not comment on the employment status of the school’s principal, Bertie Simmons, who has been credited with turning the school around. 

Simmons was placed on leave last year after making controversial remarks over the school’s intercom. She was also being investigated for not relaxing the dress code after Hurricane Harvey and verbally threatening students, according to her attorney.

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