Five years after a state Senate committee cleared a top education official of wrongdoing, a new report reveals the Cheshire school district may have been trying to cover up its own failings in its mishandling of the Chesnacom scandal.
In a scathing report released Tuesday, the Maryland House Committee on Public Safety and Government Reform said Chesapeake Public Schools may have ignored a federal report that warned of widespread cheating in the state’s public schools and ignored recommendations from a state-appointed panel of state officials to hire a federal task force to investigate.
The report, which was made public by the state House on Monday, said Cheshire failed to adequately protect the identities of students accused of cheating.
“We are confident that the state of Maryland has committed serious constitutional and statutory violations,” the House report said.
It also faulted Cheshire’s school board and its leaders for failing to conduct a thorough internal investigation into cheating allegations, as well as for not investigating the allegations more thoroughly.
Cheshire’s top administrator, Richard Coyle, resigned in April after a federal probe found that he had misled school board members about the extent of cheating at his school.
Coyle, who had been Cheshire public schools’ top administrator since 2004, also received more than $2.3 million in compensation over the past five years from the school district, according to the House’s report.
The state attorney general’s office, which investigated the Chesnobee scandal, did not respond to a request for comment on the report.
The state’s attorney general did not immediately respond to requests for comment from CNNMoney.
The House panel’s findings came on the heels of the release of a separate report by the U.S. Department of Education that found that the Chesnutte district had failed to fully investigate the allegations against five students, including two who were charged with felonies and were later found innocent.
The U.N. special rapporteur on the rights of children said Tuesday that his findings raise serious questions about whether the state was in the right to fire Coyle after the report came out.
Crawford told CNNMoney that the U-N.
report was “very clear” about the shortcomings in the investigation of cheating allegations.
The Chesnawee board and Coyle were not immediately available for comment.
State House Speaker Michael Busch, a Republican, said Tuesday he has been working with the state attorney generals office on the investigation into the school board.
He said the panel’s report shows there is a lot more work to do, including investigating how the school system handled the allegations of cheating and the consequences for the state.
“I hope that the people in the Cheshires district and in the rest of the state will not have any doubts that we are going to do everything in our power to hold accountable those who have abused their authority,” Busch said.
Cubs outfielder Chris Young, a Chesapeake High School graduate, said the report was disappointing and that he would not support Coyle as school superintendent.
“When it comes to accountability, the best thing to do is take the accountability to the people, and we will hold them accountable,” Young said.