SLED investigates grade changes at Beaufort High

LADY'S ISLAND, SC (WTOC) - Two weeks ago, students and parents rallied outside Beaufort High School in support of then- principal Dr. Dan Durbin. It was his final day at the school before officially resigning after admitting to changing 200 grades for 33 students.

Now, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division is investigating those grade changes.

"We are required by state regulation to report situations like this to the State Board of Education," said Jim Foster, Beaufort County School District Spokesman. "In addition to that because it's a violation of state law to alter transcripts, we took an additional step of notifying the solicitor's office.

From there, the case was turned over to the SLED.

Foster says this is a serious matter and they wanted to make sure they took all the proper procedures.

"Altering students transcripts is a very serious matter," said Foster. "It's a violation of state law. The transcript is the official record of each student's academic history and it has to do with class ranking, potentially has an effect on getting a scholarship to college. It's a very serious matter."

But many parents and students continue to throw their support behind Durbin for helping to turn the school around.

"I understand it may be a significant amount, 33 children, 200 grades," said Art Smith, parent. "Until you go case by case, it's hard for me or anyone else to say. One thing I do know is he deeply cared about the students here both in their learning and their values."

Many parents hoped it would not come to this.

"I was a little surprised," said Smith. "Obviously they are going through a process they feel they have to go through so I guess I was a little surprised because I still , at least in my mind, kept holding onto the fact of what an outstanding job he did as a principal."

WTOC tried to contact Mr. Durbin for a comment but we were unable to reach him. Durbin has told us he changed the grades to help motivate students who were struggling and keep them in school.

SLED would not make any comment concerning the investigation, either would the State Department of Education.

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