CBS Local — A high school principal has been found to have pressured teachers to change grades, charge students to attend functions such as pep rallies, and even made teachers complete some of his son’s school assignments, according to a report from the Palm Beach Post.
George Lockhart had been in charge of Lake Worth High School since 2011. An investigation found all of the above transgressions and ruled that Lockhart “misused (his) position and authority” and “compromised the integrity of the district.” He was initially going to be fired, but instead was just demoted to the school district’s charter office.
“Mr. Lockhart made some real mistakes in decision-making and lapses of judgment with his leadership on campus,” Robert Avossa, Schools Superintendent said via Palm Beach Post. “But I always have to take the totality of the matter and press the bad decisions against a 27-year run where he was contributing in a very positive way.”
Avossa called Lockhart’s decisions “lapses in judgement,” but still said overall he had a positive impact on the district.
The investigation found that Lockhart would have math teachers in his school complete his son’s online math assignments.
“When I completed the assignment I would email them to Dr. Lockhart via district email,” said Richard Gomersall, one of the school’s math teachers. “I have known Dr. Lockhart for a very long time so, out of respect, I didn’t want to tell him no. I wish I was never put into this situation.”
Lockhart also made teachers alter grades.
“He handed me, along with other teachers present in his office, particular students’ grades and requested grade changes,”Gary Habib, a science teacher at the school, told reporters.
One teacher didn’t call it a direct threat, but certainly felt the pressure to follow Lockhart’s orders.
“He stated that the students had A’s in all their other classes and I should take some steps to assist the student in achieving all A’s,” said Brian Crouch, a social studies teacher. “He also attached a grade-edit sheet to the email. While this email was not a direct threat or push to change the grade,” he said, “I did feel this email was passively aggressively pressuring me to change the grades.”
The school district prohibits charging students to events that occur during school hours, but Lockhart directly broke that rule. Students were allowed to leave class to attend in-school events if they paid a dollar.
Since being demoted to the charter office when the investigation started, Lockhart has been promoted to manager of the office.