Peekskill Superintendent: 34 Students Got Bogus Credits

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Peekskill City School District officials are investigating how 34 students received credit for work they did not do.
Peekskill City School District officials are investigating how 34 students received credit for work they did not do. Photo Credit: Art Cusano

PEEKSKILL, N.Y. — At least 34 students in the Peekskill City School District were given credit for coursework they did not complete, according to a statement released Monday evening by Superintendent of Schools James Willis.

The investigation began after administrators found irregularities on some transcripts earlier this month.

“The bulk of the irregularities emanate from class credit that was issued for something called a ‘co-op’ class, which appears to have been a legitimate ‘work experience’ course in the district that was discontinued some years ago,” Willis said. “As a result, our preliminary findings indicate that students were being provided with course credit for a nonexistent course. Additionally – and to a much lesser extent – we have isolated a number of cases in which credit was seemingly granted inappropriately for other courses.”

For some of the students, the removal of the illegitimate credits will have no bearing on graduation if they pass their classes in the second semester, according to Willis.

But other students will be required to complete additional coursework and successfully pass all of their classes to graduate in June,  he said.

Another group of students will be required to complete additional coursework over the summer and/or take another semester beyond this year to graduate, Willis said.

The students’ families were notified through a letter Jan. 18, and follow-up phone calls are being made to schedule individual meetings beginning Tuesday, Jan. 22. All conferences must be completed before Monday, Jan. 28, which is the start of the second semester.

Wills said he and the Board of Education were “absolutely appalled” by the findings of the investigation and said such actions would not be tolerated.

“To date, we have not identified any specific common thread among the impacted students, other than the fact that the bogus credit seemed designed to help students meet graduation credit requirements,” Willis said. “Upon the advice of our legal counsel, our findings will be turned over to the Westchester County district attorney for potential criminal investigation.”

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