PUNTA GORDA, Fla. - A high school teacher is accused of trading better grades for cash. Now the Charlotte County School District is investigating.
When a student struggles with scoring As or Bs, often teachers will offer a chance to redeem their grades with extra credit. But one student at Charlotte High School claims he paid the price.
"The allegation was that he had paid the teacher on several occasions in cash, dollar amount, to adjust a grade on a particular test," Superintendent Dr. Doug Whittaker said.
According to Whittaker, Charlotte High School math teacher Jeff Spires is on leave while the district investigates the claim. They're talking to students, seeing if more were involved, and how long this may have been going on.
"We are checking to see whether or not this has indeed occurred," Whittaker said. "If it has, this is a very egregious offense. Grades hold such weight in high school that to compromise the accuracy and validity of those grades is a very serious offense."
But not all students give the accusation a passing grade. Charlotte High Senior Emily Burkett says she and others stand behind Jeff Spires.
"It's not true at all," Burkett said. "It's a rumor that started last year, and I think it's really messed up. He doesn't deserve it, he's a really good teacher, and I think it should stop."
We tried contacting Spires a variety of ways to get his side, but so far, we've gotten no response.
"We have taken this allegation very very seriously and while we would hope it's not the case, we have to wait and see," Whittaker said.
The school district expects to wrap up the inquiry part of the investigation by the end of the week. Spires will then get a chance to tell his side, and at that point, Superintendent Whittaker will make a recommendation to the school board. We'll let you know how it unfolds.