ATLANTA — The city's public school system, already reeling from a far-reaching teacher cheating scandal that is still unfolding, was rocked again Wednesday by new cheating allegations — this time against parents who allegedly falsified documents so their children could attend one of the city's football powerhouses and play on the team.
Superintendent Erroll Davis said Wednesday that 14 of the 58 players on the Grady High School football team used faked addresses to enroll at the school. He said a three-month investigation found that players and their parents used fraudulent addresses so they could play on the team.
"Once again, adults have, in fact, failed children, and it is children who get to pay the price," Davis said at a Wednesday evening news conference during which he released a 23-page report on the investigation.
At least one player on the football team had never set foot in a classroom at the Midtown school, Davis said. In another instance, two siblings were registered at different addresses.
The investigation is ongoing, and Davis said civil and criminal charges are being considered.
Some of the students accused of fraud have voluntarily withdrawn; others have been asked to withdraw and tuition bills were sent to some parents whose children were found to be living outside the district.
Some Grady parents were upset, and said Davis and the school system are targeting Grady and the football team for behavior that goes on everywhere. "I just think they are trying to put blame on students without taking blame themselves for an issue that they have known about for years and years and done nothing about," Leigh Wilco told WXIA-TV in Atlanta.
The latest cheating allegation comes the month before 13 Atlanta educators are expected to stand trial on racketeering charges alleging that they conspired to change students' answers on curriculum tests to improve scores so they could collect bonuses. The 13 were among 35 educators, including former superintendent Beverly Hall, who were indicted last year; 21 of the others have pleaded guilty.