Investigation claims Ballou's 2017 graduating class may not have meet graduation requirements

- An investigation by WAMU / NPR claims many students in Ballou High School's 2017 graduating class should have been held back.

Ballou's class of 2017 gained nationwide attention for reaching a huge milestone when every graduating senior received at least one college acceptance letter. The WAMU/NPR report says most of the students may have lacked the requirements to graduate mostly because of poor attendance records.

D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Antwan Wilson and D.C. Mayor Bowser addressed the report on Wednesday.

“The point that we want to make clear today is that we take seriously these allegations,” said Bowser.

“We think these are extremely important allegations and concerning allegations,” said Wilson.

The mayor and the chancellor announced two investigations have been ordered to review the situation at Ballou and other D.C. schools. One will be conducted by two deputy chancellors and the other will be conducted by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education.

“We will hold everyone accountable for making sure this school, just like any school in our system, is run in the way that meets our highest expectations,” Bowser said.

The results of the review should be completed in 45 days. The city council's education committee will hold a special hearing in December.

Melinda Goode said she was shocked when her son graduated from Ballou because he had too many absences and poor grades.

“If these kids are missing school, missing the grades and not put in the effort, how did they graduate?” she said.

Current Ballou senior Tania Booth is defending the school, saying students know the importance of attendance.

“Ballou is way better than what people out here are trying to say they are,” said Booth.

D.C. State Board of Education member Markus Batchelor said this is so serious that he believes Mayor Bowser should order an outside agency to investigate and get to the bottom of these allegations. 

“Not just here at Ballou but system wide to see how far this goes, who was complicit in it, who mandated it and who we need to hold accountable for something like this,” he said.

A special hotline to the deputy mayor of education has been set up at 202-727-3636 for any information that may assist in this investigation.

Wilson joined FOX 5 earlier this year for a review of the 2016-17 school year. Watch the interview here: http://www.fox5dc.com/news/dc-schools-end-of-year-review-with-chancellor-antwan-wilson

READ MORE:

https://wamu.org/story/17/11/28/really-happened-ballou-d-c-high-school-every-senior-got-college/

https://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2017/11/28/564054556/what-really-happened-at-the-school-where-every-senior-got-into-college

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