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Hempstead High School Students Worry Missing Grades Will Keep Them From College

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HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Grades for hundreds of Long Island high school students were never recorded, and the students have been left worried that the missing transcripts could cause problems as they prepare for college.

As CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported, hundreds of Hempstead High School students walked out on classes Thursday, demanding their transcripts and grades.

“We got the knowledge! We want to go to college!” the students chanted as some held signs.

A total of 2,200 grades were still missing from midyear report cards as of Thursday.

“I want to go to college. I want to be a nurse,” said Hempstead High School senior Chakira Guerrero. “But they haven’t given me my transcripts.”

College-bound students were told transcripts were lost

“They just say that the book is missing with all of our transcripts, and that most of our grades are missing too,” said senior Cheyenne Spencer.

The recent transition from paper to electronic grading resulted in missing grades, according to a district spokesman who applauded the kids.

“They’re exhibiting their civil rights, and I couldn’t be more proud of them, and so is the board,” said Hempstead School District spokesman Nathan Jackson.

A Hempstead School Board member said the grades may not actually be missing.

“I don’t think things are missing,” said board member Shelly Brazley. “I think that they have not been recorded properly as they should be.”

Hemsptead is one of the poorest districts on Long Island, with a graduation rate of only 38 percent. The district has been rocked by a grade-fixing scandal, in which a state audit found thousands of grades elevated so students would pass.

The district has also been hit with an election fraud allegation in a tight school board is that is being contested.

And the missing grades came on top of all of that.

“These are kids we’ve encouraged to turn their lives around; to get an education, and getting them to dream about going to college, and all of a sudden, you have this issue that is literally stopping them dead in their tracks,” said community activist Rahsmia Zatar.

Reginald Stroughn, the twelfth principal of the school in 14 years, declined comment

“I’ve been directed (not to comment.) I would be insubordinate,” he said.

But he invited students off street to hear them out.

“As a student, I deserve to know what’s going on,” said Hempstead High School student Tatiana Bailey.

Students worry without grades they will not be able to graduate as planned on June 29. The district spokesman promised graduation will go on, and missing grades and transcripts to be in order by then.

The New York State Department of Education as of Thursday was still reviewing the audit that found that grades were changed, and the school is required to submit a plan to correct the problem.

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