The principal at D.C.’s high-achieving McKinley Technology High School was placed on paid administrative leave Wednesday after reports emerged that he allegedly fixed students' grades so that they could graduate on time.
The decision was announced by Chancellor Kaya Henderson, who said that placing the principal, David Pinder, on leave was “not a finding of misconduct” but “a necessary precaution given additional information which we received this week." Federal prosecutors will continue to investigate the allegations, which were reported earlier this week in the Washington Examiner.
According to a former guidance counselor at the school, Pinder told her back in 2008 to register two senior transfer students for more classes than they had time for so they would graduate on time. Rhonda Robinson also claims that the students got credit for classes they never took. In some of the students’ transcripts, Pinder, who has led the school since 2007, is listed as the instructor (such instances of principals teaching classes are “rare,” a DCPS official told the Examiner).
Robinson later found 11 other instances in which students were registered for “phantom classes,” the Washington Post reports. The following summer, she says she informed school administrators and the DCPS central office about the issue, but nothing was done. She was laid off in October of 2009 as part of a city-wide staff reduction due to budget cuts.
McKinley Technology High School, a magnet school, has the city’s second-highest graduation rate, at 96.5 percent (according to the most recent school data from 2009); the average rate for D.C. high schools is 72.3 percent.
(Photo: Mckinley Technology high school )