Monday October 22 to Friday October 26
Every day of the next week, the principal, the vice principal, and the learning strategist/ARL supervisor came into my classroom and spent all day on the three computers in the back. The members of my grade-level teaching team kept asking me if the administrators were really were going to do what they’d already told the students, namely, that on Friday October 26 the kids would receive the forged report cards to take home to their parents, even though the cards were a week late.
The last hour of week 2
And indeed, on the last hour of that last day of the week —Friday the 26th of October 2018 — Mrs. Robertt came into my room right before I was to take my students out to the area where the parents pick them up. She handed me a stack of report cards. She said, “Hurry up and put these in your students’ backpack as they go home.” And she left the room.
As I stepped out of my classroom, Mrs. Robertt was not within sight. So I went and showed the graded report cards to my second-grade chair and two other second-grade teachers. Seeing the faked grades, they were amazed and angry. At that time, however, we had to hurry and get the students to their pick-up line. Then, as they waited in line for their parents, I gave out the report cards. My second graders started looking at their report cards, then were jumping up and down in line, shouting, “Wow, I have never made A’s and B’s before!”
Every teacher out there on the pick-up line knew this class had been making all F’s and just stared at me, as though I had engineered the grading fraud.
As I walked back to my room with my grade supervisor, she said she was angry. “I am going to their office right now and let them know that I know what they are doing.”
I said, “Wait a minute. First let me leave and make copies of everything — because they have been using my computer and my password. I am going to have to take time off and talk to the union about this, because I have not touched my computer, grade book or anything since I have been at Treem, and now that is a dirty computer. And I don’t want to have to be making those copies on Monday.”
That Friday, October 26, 2018, I left the campus, called the teacher union and left a message on Ron Lopez’s voice mail. It said he was out of town and folks should contact Mr. Alexander Roche.
I left a voicemail on Lopez’s voicemail anyway, to establish the time I made my report on what had happened.
The next two months
I also immediately took Family Medical Leave, as my mother, who had come to live with my family, was dying.
She finally expired on November 10, and it hit me very hard.
Still, over the next two months when school was in session and I was on leave, I would often sit with my union rep, Alexander Roche, and we would watch remotely, over the Internet, as Treem’s principal, vice principal and ARL supervisor worked busily inside my Infinite Campus grade book.
Now the fact that my mother had been a state and federal fraud investigator, and a stickler for honesty, really kicked in. On the day that Treem admin had told me and my TA that we’d have to change the classroom’s existing grades to A’s and B’s, Mom asked me to give her one more “last wish.”
She said, and I quote, “For what they are doing to those kids and parents, not just there but across America, you need to tell the world what all those bustards are doing.” The union, too, asked me to document what the Treem brass were doing.
So, as we watched them copy tests, delete actual grades, insert new grades, and change the dates and names of tests, I took screenshot after screenshot with my iPhone.
Through all of this time that I was out on leave, the union kept trying — through about six different scheduled, then broken appointments — to get CCSD management to meet with us.
But the superintendent’s office kept making excuses and would not meet.
Thus, by the end of the first week in January, my combined vacation time, Family Medical Leave and sick days were all exhausted. So, on the seventh, I had to go back to Treem. And since the principal, vice principal and ARL mentor/“learning strategist” already knew from the grapevine that I’d blown the whistle on them, the knives were out.
Still, from my second-grade chair I was able to learn what had happened in my absence.
She said that after the Friday I’d left Treem and contacted the union, on the next Monday she’d seen Principal Tippetts and Vice Principal Cyprus in the hallway and confronted them. She told them she’d seen the fake grades they’d posted and sent out to the parents, and was very upset with what they’d done. The two of them had then responded harshly, she told me, poking a finger in her face and telling her loudly to “MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS!” — add that, “We will handle Mr. Oliver’s room!”