NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - The Orleans Parish School Board’s Superintendent touts changes and releases a formal apology to John F. Kennedy seniors. This, after a number of students who thought they’d earned their diploma learned they had more credits to earn.
“On behalf of the district, I would like to apologize,” said Orleans Parish School Superintendent Dr. Henderson Lewis Jr.
Lewis Jr. took time during Wednesday's school board meeting to address the John F. Kennedy High seniors and their families.
"(The) students impacted by the careless and, I mean careless, actions of adults," Lewis Jr. said.
Nearly half of the graduating class found out they’re not actually finished with high school, nearly a month after walking the stage at graduation.
Some will be required to take or re-take exams, enroll in summer school or take more classes in the fall. It came after New Beginnings School Foundation, the school's charter, reviewed seniors' transcripts to find 69 were invited to walk but didn't have enough credits for a diploma. 90 out of 177 earned a diploma or certificate of completion.
"You should have been celebrating your senior graduation this month but, instead, you have been forced to question the certainty of your future," said Lewis Jr.
Lewis Jr. went on to say what happened to these students was wrong and unacceptable. Now, he says he's working to ensure nothing like this ever happens again.
“The District needs to make certain every high school has knowledgeable counselors and is handling student records appropriately,” explained Lewis Jr.
The Superintendent says training this fall will address those concerns for next school year, but an audit on all student records will be conducted in the meantime. This way, students’ class schedules can be amended, if necessary, before the next school year begins.
Plus, Lewis Jr. says JFK seniors who didn't graduate will get special support.
He made it clear this investigation is still open and ongoing, with findings expected later this summer.
“I have sent a letter to Louisiana’s Inspector General asking Mr. Street to conduct his own independent investigation into this matter to assess if any criminal wrongdoing has occurred,” said Lewis Jr.
Lewis Jr. says he plans to have student records at all high schools audited and if issues are found, mandatory training and a plan of action will be required.
He added, JFK High School will be open this coming school year.