NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Allegations of cheating at Landry-Walker High School opened an investigation at the state level that could levy criminal charges.
"Landry-Walker High School had test scores in 2013-2014 in a couple of subjects that seemed too good to be true. The charter group, the Algiers Charter School Association, undertook an investigation, put monitors in every single testing room the following year and the test scores plummeted," Dreilinger said.
The independent monitors watching teachers and students the following year didn't witness any actual cheating, but noticed things that raised eyebrows, including proctors with cell phones, changing schedules for testing students, and unsecured testing documents.
"The most troubling situation was, a proctor left the room, which is not supposed to happen, and the kids started talking about logging into the computer, because these are online tests, and taking the tests at home, and taking the tests for each other, and how bad their grades were in class," Dreilinger said.
Dreilinger explained, the charter group placed the monitors after the school's test scores outpaced previous ratings and even contradicted some students' class grades.
"They didn't line up always with other academic results, so there were kids who aced the exam, which is a state exam, and failed the class and it wasn't because they were missing too many classes either," Dreilinger explained.
After the story broke, Recovery School District Superintendent Patrick Dobard wrote a letter to school leaders addressing the story.
"In the fall of 2015, the Department's analyses turned up multiple indicators of potential malfeasance at Landry-Walker High School and a small number of other schools statewide," Dobard wrote. "My team and I are committed to seeing these investigations through and to making sure that any individuals committing acts of academic fraud will pay all appropriate consequences."
Dreilinger said it may be difficult to prove actual cheating occurred, but if it is proven, the consequences would be heavy.
"There are felonies that are broken when teachers cheat on test, which is something many people don't know, also teachers can lose their licenses," Dreilinger said.
The department of education released this statement following a request for comment:
"Following a Department analysis of assessment scores, the Department immediately referred this matter to the Inspector General's office in November 2014 as soon as there was evidence of impropriety at this school and a small number of other schools. The Department conducted its own inquiry into the matter which was not prompted by the Algiers Charter School Association or any other outside influence. The Inspector General's office began looking into the issue when the Department referred it to them in November 2014."