Dixon High School Issues Report on Grade Change Scandal

The Dixon High School Administration has completed its investigation into the unauthorized changes made to grades of 32 students that were first discovered on May 13, 2015 and announced on May 14, 2015.
As reported at that time, a student gained access to the electronic grade books of nine teachers and made over 200 changes to the grades earned by students on individual assignments. The first changes were made in late January and the final ones, which were noticed by a teacher, occurred on May 13, 2015.
Principal Nick Girimonte, Assistant Principal Stephanie Marquez, and Assistant Principal Bob Bugalski conducted interviews with all of the 32 students. Each student was shown the specific change or changes made to his or her grades by individual assignment(s) and was asked to respond to questions regarding the information. All students, with one exception, cooperated with the investigation and provided answers to the questions directed to them.
Upon completing the interviews, reviewing the data from the student information system, and analyzing the information from these steps, the Administration made the following determinations:

  • Three students were suspended for five days each for extensive involvement in changing grades without authorization. A recommendation for expulsion has been made for one of those students.
  • Six students were suspended for three days each for involvement in changing grades without authorization and/or for direct knowledge of their own grades being changed and failing to report it.
  • For the remaining twenty-three students, there was insufficient evidence to conclude that any of them had involvement in or knowledge of their grades being changed. The impact of any changes made for these students was negligible. More importantly, no evidence was discovered that showed that they had been involved in asking for the change or were aware of the changes. None of these students are receiving disciplinary consequences.

As provided for under Education Code Section 49066, Administrative staff shall utilize the records from our student information system to correct each change that was made. The teachers impacted by these changes shall be consulted and provided with records of each grade correction that is made.
The investigation by the Dixon Police Department into this matter is a separate process from that of the school district, and as such, the District has no comment on it.
Superintendent Brian Dolan made this statement regarding this incident:
“This situation was a great disappointment to us and has distracted our staff from doing the real work they should be engaged in at this time of year. This work includes supporting students as they wrap up the academic year and celebrating the many great accomplishments of our students and staff across the District this year.
“With the investigation now complete and the consequences issued to students who earned them, I can say that one chapter of this story is closed. We have additional work to do within our school community with regard to building a culture of ethical and responsible behavior among our students. While there was significant wrong-doing by too many students here, there were also admissions of guilt and acceptance of responsibility. I think that one of the reasons for this was the effort to engage staff and students in meaningful dialogue about what happened and why in the aftermath of the scandal.
“We all want to move forward productively, with the appropriate lessons learned, and work to ensure that all of our students conduct themselves honorably in the future. As our staff has responded by trying to make this a learning experience, there is still a lot that we have to do to teach and support our students in this area of their growth as individuals. A guarantee of the high school years is that some students will make poor choices at times. We believe that in partnership with their parents we can and should help them to both choose wisely and respond appropriately if bad choices are made. Those chapters of the book remain to be completed, but will be a focus area for us as we end this year and into the future.”

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