"Dorene McShea's courage in the face of abuse brings this situation to light. Where else are these types of violations happening?"

NBC2 Exclusive: Collier schools under the microscope Collier County News
Last updated on: 7/24/2007 11:37:38 PM
by Adam Freeman

COLLIER COUNTY: There is big trouble for the Collier County School District. NBC2 obtained a report exposing a long list of violations including high school students getting extra honor credits for classes they never took - and the findings go much deeper.

There are claims of students grading teacher's papers, guidance counselors giving special treatment, and school administrators sharing information with students about other students.

NBC2's Adam Freeman was the only reporter in Southwest Florida to obtain the 50-page report, done by an independent lawyer, the day before it was released.

The report shows some students are getting two credits for one class, other students getting honors credits while taking regular classes, and some teachers just putting in a movie every single day.

Now, officials with the school board must figure who is responsible for letting these things happen.

"They found some disturbing issues," said Collier County School Board Chairman Steve Donovan.

Donovan explained in some classes, the report showed that students are taking classes in which the workload is completely wrong for the class.

"One was called "Leadership Traits" and they had these students washing towels," said Donovan.

The report, which includes many high schools in the district, also shows at least one music class where the teacher simply played a movie each day.

"To kill time, they would put a movie in and that's not what we want," said Donovan.

Other school board members had similar reactions to the report on Tuesday night.

School Board member Richard Calabrese said the report "Puts our district in a terrible light. We're not supposed to do things like this."

Vice-Chair Linda Abbott questions what colleges or employers will think of Collier students and said, "The reputation of our school district is at stake."

Donovan has called a special meeting to talk about possible sanctions against administrators.

"They're not going into the schools and they're not reviewing what the principals are doing. They're not going in and seeing what we're doing in our classrooms and the schools are running amok almost," said Donovan.

Donovan says the penalties could range from a slap on the wrist to firing.

"I know one thing - everything is on the table," said Donovan.

NBC2 did try to contact the Collier County superintendent Tuesday night, but we got no answer.

That special meeting is scheduled for next Tuesday at the Collier County School District Building.

In order to remove an administrator from office, they just need a majority vote from the five school board members.