Principal's career on the line after alleged grade changes

CUMBERLAND COUNTY Last November, Diane Antolak the former principal at Terry Sanford High School in Fayetteville was accused of changing the grades of four students, including members of the football team.

When the news broke about the allegations, the players were later ruled in-eligible and the scandal cost the school a football championship.

On Friday, it was announced that Cumberland County School's superintendent completed his investigation into the matter and it was revealed that it wasn't just the football players who had their grades changed.

Superintendent Dr. Frank Till says Antolak changed the grades of 32 students at Terry Sanford High School.

Dr. Till says his investigation shows Antolak's motive was to help students, many of whom had borderline grades. Some students had multiple grade changes; others had fabricated classes added to their transcripts.

Dr. Till says Antolak told him she believed she had the authority, but says she clearly stepped over the line.

"In my opinion it is never appropriate to give somebody something they haven't earned," Till said. "I think you reward the wrong behavior. I think it's important to work with young people to earn their grades, cause when you give somebody a grade they haven't earned there is a good chance the body of knowledge you should have when that grade is not there, it means they will be a failure someplace else, so I emphasis it's more important to give them the knowledge than to give them a grade."

Dr. Till did not comment on the findings and recommendations he sent to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. But a spokesperson for the state school board says the ethics committee will decide next week if Antolak's license will be revoked.

Dr. Till says new stricter policies and guidelines are now in place governing student grade changes.

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