Report says principal should be fired after investigation found academic, attendance irregularities

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Atlanta Public Schools officials have recommended firing a high school principal after investigators found evidence of academic and attendance irregularities at her school.

Channel 2 investigative reporter Richard Belcher said the report concludes that some of the violations had a negative effect on special education students -- specifically that those students lost thousands of hours of instruction because of a lack of oversight.

The investigation started when an APS area superintendent filed a complaint against Angela Coaxum-Young, the principal of Booker T. Washington High School.

The report finalized May 12 recommended that the district fire Coaxum-Young. Atlanta Public Schools confirmed by email this week that she has resigned.

Belcher asked retired teacher Tish Glover to review the investigation results for Channel 2. Glover spent 30 years teaching science courses to seniors at APS.

“I guess it went on from August until November (2021), which is about a third of the school year, so that’s really serious,” Glover said.

The report concludes Coaxum-Young violated APS policies, employee ethics standards and various state standards, including the standard governing testing.

The report holds Coaxum-Young responsible for allowing some Washington students to continue to attend classes from home -- apparently insufficiently monitored -- even after the district had ended the practice put in place during the early stages of the public health crisis.

The report said special education students were hardest hit by that practice.

From the report:

Almost 3,700 hours of services were not provided to students who were allowed to stay home.

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There is no evidence that students were monitored to ensure they were receiving the required special education services.

The district gave notifications repeatedly that study from home had ended.

“Attendance is a very big issue because that is how everything is funded. They had a significant number of students who might not have been present,” Glover told Belcher.

Glover, on the question of documenting attendance to justify state and federal funding, asked,

“Did they (APS) say the student was there and they were not there? Did they receive money that they should not have received? The bigger picture is how much instruction did those children actually lose?”

Glover, emphasized there are strict regulations governing special education students.

“Legally, if those children have IEPs -- individual education plans -- then are they meeting the requirement outlined in those IEPs? So there’s a whole myriad of issues involved here,” Glover said.

APS declined to comment beyond saying that the principal has resigned. Belcher left a voicemail for Coaxum-Young, but she did not respond.

She had been principal at Booker T. Washington High School for three years.

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