Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Charges of 'institutional racism,' possible grade changing fuels North Atlanta High School drama (Update)

Posted By on Wed, Oct 31, 2012 at 5:24 PM

Over the past month, Erroll Davis has taken plenty of flak over what's happened at North Atlanta High School. The Atlanta Public Schools interim superintendent, who swiftly replaced the Buckhead school's leadership without any initial explanation, has been scolded by parents and students throughout the community. The APS board even postponed deciding whether his contract should be extended until December.

But as more and more details emerge, it's beginning to seem like a good idea to look into the school.

The Buckhead Reporter recently obtained an anonymous letter suggesting that the high school's rigorous International Baccalaureate program "promoted institutional racism." Specifically: that black students received lower grades than white counterparts for equal work and that some of the teachers in the high school's college prep office — called the "College Zone" — were racists.

The letter's newsworthy because Mark Mygrant, the former NAHS interim principal, publicly suggested he was fired because of allegations that he hired two racist employees. However, when asked if those rumors played into the firing of Mygrant and other school officials, an APS spokesman told CBS Atlanta that Davis made the moves so that "the new principal, Dr. Howard Taylor, [could] choose his own team."

Mygrant, who has denied wrongdoing and promised that he wouldn't ride off quietly into the sunset, has since hired our favorite Buckhead attorney Glenn Delk to uncover the truth about his dismissal as well as the racism claims.

“Mr. Davis and [Atlanta Public Schools] should be required to produce any and all evidence to support these anonymous allegations,” Delk’s letter said. “Mr. MyGrant’s accusers should be publically identified and subpoenaed to testify.”

These racism claims followed APS officials' recent announcement that they're also looking into improper grade-changing allegations at the school.

“It could range from teachers changing grades on student assignments to teachers changing final grades on report cards, or mid-term exams,” an APS spokesman told the AJC this past Thursday.

Davis says that he was aware of the investigation into the grade-changing scandal but that he "didn't initiate anything."

UPDATE, 10:48 a.m.: Mygrant has sent a letter to APS officials requesting that the board of education holds a meeting where he can, as Delk says, "be given an opportunity to face his accusers and clear his name."

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