PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - An assistant principal’s judgment is being called into question after the Palm Beach County School District Inspector General found that he changed students grades more than 250 times -- many of the changes were done without reason.
The investigation into the allegations began after an anonymous letter was sent to the Officer of the Inspector General in August 2017. The letter made 12 allegations; three were substantiated.
Chiu reported that Burden was asked about the allegations against him.
Burden replied that he did not change any students’ grades assigned to the credit recovery class. He said that the only explanation he can think of is that the students enrolled in the course might have used his sign-in credentials and changed the grades themselves.
The OIG determined Burden’s excuse as “incredulous and not plausible” and that in order for students to have changed their grades, Burden would have had to forget to log off his computer numerous times in the 15 weeks that the grades were changed.
School police report that Burden changed grades 256 times, which conflicts with Burden’s assertion that he did not even know how to make grade changes in the system.
Of those 256 times, 19 grade changes occurred from what appears to be a residential IP address the OIG reports. Only 11 of the 256 recorded changes had a reason or justification attached to the record.
The grade changes were assignment grade changes, not final grade changes, which without justification, the OIG says is a violation of the District’s Code of Ethics.
Burden was contacted by WPTV's news partner at the Palm Beach Post, which reported that Burden declined to comment on the story.
The OIG’s report also found that Asst. Football Coach Jalani Lord, girls’ basketball coach David McClendon and junior varsity head basketball coach Timothy Mickens were paid supplements for sponsoring clubs that did not exist.
Chiu also said head football coach James Parson did not get approvals from his principal and the school’s budget keeper for purchases costing more than $200.
The Palm Beach County School District released the following statement regarding the case:
There is an Office of Professional Standards Case open in this matter at this time. We cannot provide further comment.