Spring Lake Principal Who Changed Grades Steps Down After Violating Contract
"it was clear …. that there were some less than truthful comments and statements made", Spring Lake Public Schools Superintendent Dennis Furton. Furton was speaking about a meeting with the Spring Lake principal who has stepped down.
Mike Gilchrist submitted his resignation Jan. 2 and it was unanimously accepted by the school board at a special meeting on Feb. 10. Gilchrist changed 51 records for 31 students, a job of the school registrar. Gilchrist made the changes to students grades without informing the teachers.
Some of the students were experiencing personal trouble and it seemed Gilchrist was trying to help. But in most cases, the minutes from the school board meeting say, there were no such circumstances.
Gilchrist admitted to his wrongdoing. WOOD TV reports that Gilchrist said if he was disciplined, he would come clean with this staff. If he was going to be fired, he would instead resign.
It is unclear why Gilchrist changed the grades. The superintendent determined that Gilchrist violated his contract and district policies and acted unethically. He was initially placed on leave.
Some parents spoke kindly of Gilchrist during the school board meeting. According to the minutes they stated that he demonstrated compassion and fairness in his role as principal and that he worked hard to help students.
The superintendent is implementing a new system to prevent future grade tampering like limiting access to the grades to only the registrar and head of technology. Another plan is requiring specific signatures before the registrar will enter any changes and auditing changes every year.