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Spring Lake Public Schools investigation report details accusations former principal altered student records

Posted at 9:36 AM, Feb 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-15 22:49:25-05

SPRING LAKE, Mich. — The principal of Spring Lake High School has resigned after being placed on leave while officials conducted an investigation into whether he changed the grades of his own children and other students.

The Spring Lake Public Schools superintendent says Mike Gilchrist’s resignation was accepted by the board of education on February 10.

RELATED: Spring Lake High School principal on leave pending investigation involving academic records

Last month, Gilchrist was placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

According to an investigation report posted on the district's website, Gilchrist is accused of changing the recorded grades of certain high school students without proper authorization and without input from teachers.

The investigation started in mid-January after school officials heard a rumor that Gilchrist changed his daughter’s grade.

According to the report, Gilchrist initially told school officials he had “never changed a grade” in his life. In a later meeting, he went on to say he had changed grades on occasions.

When school officials pointed out inconsistencies between his statements, Gilchrist said, “I wouldn’t believe what I’m telling you. I f****** up. Sorry you guys have to deal with this.”

The following day, Gilchrist had another meeting with the district superintendent. According to the report, he opened up the meeting by stating, “First of all, in regards to our meeting yesterday, I was caught of guard and was not completely truthful.” He went on to say, “Dennis, every question you asked me yesterday, the answer is yes. I did those things. All of them.”

The document states the district was investigating 51 instances of grades being changed over the course of eight years.

Seven current students at Spring Lake High School had their records changed: three seniors, one junior, and three sophomores. But according to the report, there were changes made to grades as far back as 2014.

Some of the changes included raising grades years after the term ended.

According to the documents, some of the grades were changed for reasons that were heartfelt, such as students experiencing some sort of distress, but the majority had some other explanation that is not yet known.

The district says an interim principal was not yet been named.

Superintendent Dennis Furton says the investigation is now complete and the results have been posted online and detailed a path forward to build trust back in the school district.

You can read the full investigation report below.

Gilchrist Investigation Report Board Resolution 1 by WXMI on Scribd

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