Fired Furr HS principal gets $100K settlement from HISD

By Megan Kennedy - Digital News Editor

HOUSTON - The former principal of Furr High School will be given $100,000 after she was fired by Houston Independent School District in the wake of multiple investigations. 

Dr. Bertie Simmons was with Furr High School in east Houston for 17 years and is credited with making major improvements.

Officials said in May a 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.

In October 2017, Simmons was relieved of duty after she was accused of verbally threatening students.

Simmons was initially placed on leave for making controversial remarks to students over the school intercom. Simmons' attorney, Scott Newar, said she was being investigated for not relaxing the dress code for students after Hurricane Harvey and for verbally threatening students with a baseball bat.

Simmons filed a formal complaint with the Office of Civil Rights. Her attorney said she was subjected to race and age discrimination.

The complaint claimed HISD administrators sought "to remove Dr. Simmons as Principal of Furr High School because of her age and/or race."

Her attorney confirmed Wednesday that Simmons will be given $100,000 as part of her departure. 

HISD released the following statement:

The parties have resolved this dispute and the district has taken an important step forward to ensure its focus remains on educating students. 

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