Punishment handed out after allegations of grade tampering - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Punishment handed out after allegations of grade tampering


While some officials caught up in a grade tampering scheme learned their punishments Tuesday, Principal Kermit Carolina was nowhere to be found and officials could not reach the school chief to inform him.

According to officials, last fall, Hillhouse High School Assistant Principal Shirley Love Joyner made serious allegations of grade tampering and preferential treatment of student athletes at Hillhouse.

Because of the graveness of the allegations, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Reginald Mayo immediately ordered an investigation into the matter and chose attorney Floyd Dugas to investigate and submit a report on his findings.

The investigation included reviews of student transcripts, grade reports, summer school reports and memos as well as dozens of interviews of Hillhouse and Riverside Academy staff.

None of the allegations involved tampering with state standardized tests. However, the investigation did substantiate several of Joyner's allegations and found evidence of isolated grade tampering and a culture of preferential treatment of certain student athletes by the Hillhouse administration. 

The following allegations were substantiated:


  • With Carolina's knowledge, Hillhouse staff member Ed Scarpa deleted a reference to summer school on two student athletes' transcripts for two classes taken at Riverside Academy summer school.
  • Two Hillhouse student athletes were given preferential treatment in summer school at Riverside Academy and were awarded twice as many credits as other students, yet only had to attend class for half the amount of time.
  • One student athlete missed 45 days of school and was still promoted to the 12th grade in direct violation of Hillhouse's "160 day rule."
  • One student athlete was granted three school credits for work experience without confirmation that the hours were actually worked and without filling out the required form for work credits. Carolina breeched protocol when he signed off on the credits without the hours first being verified.
  • Carolina and other Hillhouse administrators allowed a process whereby coaches and other staff influenced grades, course selection and credits for certain students. The lack of oversight over coaches and the extraordinary efforts to adjust courses mid-year for certain students created to a culture of special treatment for certain student athletes.


Each employee was called in to meet with Mayo separately on Tuesday and to be informed of his or her discipline. Repeated attempts were made to reach Carolina during school hours, but he could not be located at school. He also failed to return calls to his cell phone. It was later determined he told his director he planned to leave early Tuesday. Mayo plans to meet with Carolina as soon as possible to issue discipline.

Officials released information detailing the extent of the punishments handed down Tuesday:


  • Principal Wanda Gibbs - Two-day suspension without pay for misleading the investigator about the length of day for the Riverside summer school program and for allowing two student athletes to be granted double the amount of credit usually granted for summer school classes.
  • Part-time administrator Ed Scarpa - Two-day suspension without pay for his role in deleting a reference to summer school for classes taken by two student athletes and adjusting school records regarding grades, credits and courses.
  • Football Coach Thomas Dyer -Two-day suspension without pay for his role in course descriptions changes and granting enhanced credits for student athletes.
  • Assistant Principal John Nguyen - Two-day suspension without pay for his role in adjusting school records regarding grades, credits and courses.


"Mistakes were made and lessons learned from this unfortunate incident. It is time to move on. It is time to bring our focus back to what matter most, educating our children," the superintendent said in a written statement. "Our mission as educators and leaders in New Haven Public Schools is to help our students succeed in the classroom, go to college and build a bright future."

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