Local News

Clinton H.S. Principal Resigns After Admitting To Grade-Tampering

Posted April 10, 2001

— A Sampson County principal has resigned after some parents accused him of changing grades. The principal admitted to doing it, but he says it was to help the children.

Clinton High School principal Michael Cafaro resigned from his post on Monday. In an anonymous letter, some African-American parents accused Cafaro of changing grades to make the school look better.

The grade changing occurred last semester. It involved eight students, males and females from every grade. Superintendent Gene Hales says some of the students were athletes. By law, the principal can change a grade, but Hales thinks it should not be done arbitrarily.

"We feel the responsibility of grading is the teacher's responsibility," he says.

Cafaro has said publicly his resignation was not directly the result of the allegations, but because of philosophical differences with the central office. He does admit to changing the grades, saying it was to keep children from getting discouraged and dropping out of a school.

Raising a grade from a 69 to a 70 was one example he used. While many parents are disappointed, many others say he did what he did for the right reasons.

"I hate it. He's a fine fellow. I thought the world of him. I hate to see him resign," says parent Ricky Mattocks.

"If they've proven themselves to work hard, I feel like the principal should have the leeway to do that," says parent Bertha Jones.

Cafaro has been a principal since 1996. WRAL was unable to get in touch with Cafaro.

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