Investigations reveal grade tampering at Lexington High School

An investigation into students' grades at Lexington High School has revealed several grades and grade point averages were incorrectly changed. 

The superintendent said two outside agencies looked into allegations of tampering and both found significant issues.

“We had students whose grades were changed back from their freshman year moving forward,” said Lexington ISD Superintendent Dr. Tonya Knowlton. "We had some students whose weights on their grades were manually changed."

Concerns were first raised about inaccurate grades in January. 

“We had an employee find, come across, a discrepancy on some paperwork and brought it to our attention,” Knowlton said.  

At that point, the district conducted an internal investigation, then voluntarily hired two outside cyber forensic firms to independently investigate what happened. 

Knowlton said both firms found 18 seniors affected, some of them with inaccuracies on their transcripts as far back as their freshman year. 

“We found no evidence whatsoever that any student had any involvement nor knowledge of anything that was happening,” said Knowlton. 

All the grade changes came back to one computer in the district. However, Knowlton would not reveal who that person was, what job they held or whether they still work for the district. 

For some students, grades went up; for others, they went down. 

Knowlton believes in some cases the changes may have been simple mistakes, but not all.  

“Based on the findings from both investigators, I feel like there was some intent,” Knowlton said.  

The district is currently working with an education service center to audit every Lexington High School student's grades, starting with seniors who are closing in on their final weeks of high school. 

“There were inaccurate transcripts printed, so, yes, transcripts could've been sent to colleges that were inaccurate,” said Knowlton.  

She said she is writing each university that received an inaccurate student transcript to correct the issue. 

“We need to ensure that we're doing everything we can to make sure the grades are correct now,” said Knowlton. 

District procedures have already changed to prevent grade tampering from happening again. From now on, grades will need to be approved by a second party and any changes to grades will need additional authorization.

Students said they aren't worried about the impacts and feel the district is handling everything as best they can. 

Knowlton encouraged students, or parents, who feel their transcripts are inaccurate to contact her office or the high school principal. She said senior transcripts will be corrected and sent out by May 1. The rest of students will have them fixed by the beginning of the next school year.