Trezevant High School principal resigns; provides 6-page letter of complaints

Trezevant High School principal resigns; provides 6-page letter of complaints

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The Trezevant High School principal resigned from his position Thursday.

Ronnie Mackin submitted a six-page resignation letter outlining complaints against Shelby County Schools.

Those complaints include grade discrepancies, breaches in security at the school, and pay-to-play for athletes.

Mackin provided examples of incidents where he said there was minimal support from the district or the IZone after he discovered illegal or unethical actions.

"There have been multiple incidents where I have uncovered illegal and unethical wrongdoings and was basically told to not comment on it," he wrote.

One of the examples he used was one that made headlines when the school's defending football champions forfeited their season due to grade violations. They were later allowed to play after no violations were discovered by TSSAA.

"As we were auditing our senior students' transcripts, we discovered inaccuracies and inconsistencies in the historical transcripts and report cards. The grades on the report cards did not match the grades on the transcripts. We realized that 121 out of the 142 seniors would not graduate if their grades and schedules stayed the same. We worked endlessly to analyze these transcripts, the credits previously earned, and the credits needed. We created a plan to put them in the correct academic focus so they would graduate. As a result of our transcript analysis, we were able to 'fix' over 130 senior schedules and close to 135 seniors were eligible to graduate on time. Also, during this correction process, we came across many students, including high profile athletes (particularly football) that had inconsistent grades on their historical transcripts. We discovered that students received credits for classes they did not pass and numerical grades had been changed in SMS to boost overall GPAs to compensate for low ACT scores. The situation was turned over to Joris Ray and Bill White, who conducted investigations into the transcript inconsistencies. Bill White discovered that individual student-athlete grades were changed many times and the historical changes showed up in SMS. There was a secretary whose account was being used as we tracked all of the changes. The story broke, parents had to be notified that their child's grades had been changed and their NCAA eligibility and their TSSAA eligibility were possibly in jeopardy."

He continued to address that situation by saying parents were angry, frustrated, and demanded his resignation, and were frustrated. He said district leadership started painting him as the "Scapegoat."

"It was communicated to parents (by a district level supervisor) that I was 'white' and did not 'understand the Trezevant kids or its community.' It was just the month of August. If this was an accurate depiction of my leadership within the first month of school, then why was I even sent there with promises of three years to provide financial stability while increasing student achievement."

In the letter, he said he is unable to work in that environment and lists several reasons why he will no longer be there.

"I can not and will not continue to work in an environment that promotes dishonesty, fraud, and misrepresentations of academic progress in order to promote athletic success," he wrote. "I can not and will not continue to work in an environment that promotes fraternity and sorority connections rather than actual experience and track record, which also discriminates against more qualified candidates who do not share similar characteristics."

He continued in the letter by saying "I can not and will not continue to work in an environment that gives senior level executives severance packages for having multiple extramarital affairs (with fellow cabinet members) who he supervises, instead of terminating him for violating supervisory duties and responsibilities as outlined by SCS and TDOE policy."

He also alleges misconduct by school security officials led to $50,000 worth of equipment being stolen from the school and that school employees promised to pay "families of super-star athletes" if they attended the school.

Mackin also said SCS officials were aware of the allegations.

"His inability to provide names and facts to support many of his most defamatory allegations," SCS Chief Legal Counsel Rodney Moore said.

SCS officials gave a brief response Thursday and said the letter comes after Mackin asked for two years severance pay and was denied. But, they said the allegations are under investigation.

"We had some issues around grading discrepancies that we found at Trezevant so the investigation has been ongoing and continues to occur," SCS Chief Communications Specialist Natalia Powers said.

School officials said with the new leadership they are hoping for a good start to the new school year for Trezevant students.

"The message to the families is that we are committed to the academic achievement of our students," Powers said.

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