Watch CBS News

Scandal At Bronx High School May Put Graduation In Jeopardy For Hundreds Of Students

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- There are disturbing allegations of class credit "padding" at a struggling high school in the Bronx.

The principal is under investigation and students who thought they would be graduating, may not have enough credits, reports CBS 2's Tony Aiello.

1010 WINS' Mona Rivera reports


Students at Jane Addams High School in the South Bronx are angry.

"This is not how it's supposed to go. She's supposed to be doing her job. This is on her," senior Klarice Williamson said. "Everybody here is scared. Why do we have to put back our goals because she didn't do something directly?"

Principal Sharron Smalls is at the center of accusations of course credit "double dipping."

The United Federation of Teachers rep, Steve Tavano, said he is certain the allegations are true.

"It's a tragedy. It's very unfortunate that many of our students may be at risk for graduating," Tavano said.

The union said it worked like this: the principal allegedly gave students who passed a cosmetology class additional credits for passing chemistry. Others who passed a tourism management class got additional credit for passing geography.

"They have been given credit for certain subjects that they did not earn," Tavano said.

Almost 100 students learned this week they make lack enough science and math credits to graduate.

"I probably won't graduate because they didn't give me the right amount of classes," Mariaelena Blair told CBS 2's Jay Dow.

"You're supposed to guide the kids in the right direction! Don't give 'em courses that they didn't take, and you give 'em credit for it. That's not right!" parent Josephine Bello said.

It is clear many of the staff members at Addams hold the principal in very low regard. Every year teachers are asked to fill out something called a "learning environment survey." This year Principal Smalls got some of the lowest marks of any administrator in the Bronx. Smalls declined to speak on camera.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Smalls remains on the job while the Department of Education investigates.

The DOE released the following statement:

"We are investigating a series of anonymous allegations recently made about the Principal and staff. Sadly, this is a school that for years has performed far below citywide averages on critical academic measures, which is why we are considering phasing it out and providing students with better options. In the meantime, our support staff are working with the school to look at transcripts and schedules to ensure students are getting the proper courses to graduate."

"I just have no idea at this point if all or any of it is true," Bloomberg told CBS 2's Marcia Kramer.

It's another black eye at a school that has performed so poorly the city may shut it down. Jane Addams High received an F-rating last year from the DOE.

The union claims the credit "double dipping" began in 2008, shortly after Smalls became principal.

What do you think? Let us know below...

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.