Failing Students Allegedly Getting Passing Grades to Improve Graduation Rates at NYC High School

The NYC Department of Education is investigating after some students and teachers say there has been a pattern of grade changing and other unusual practices at a Queens high school. 

Peter McGroary, a former student at William Cullen Bryant High School in Astoria, couldn't believe his eyes when he went to pick up his transcript.

"It said I had passed my gym class when I had failed," McGroary said.

McGroary, who dropped out of the school, admits that he was a no-show for his gym classes, yet he still passed the class somehow.

McGroary's gym teacher, Peter Maliarakis, says he didn't change the grade but believes someone else did.

"A bunch of students getting credit who are basically sleeping in their beds, not coming to school," Maliarakis said. "A student told me they had him draw on a poster and that's how he got credit."

Maliarakis and others say grades are being changed to help the school get a better graduation rate, and that the pressure to change the grades of absent or failing students is coming from the school's principal. One school record shows a chronic absentee student who was averaging a 45 passing with an 85, simply for doing extra credit.

"It makes the principal and school look good," Gus Prentzas, the former president of the school's Parent Association, said. "In the long run it's hurting the children."

The Department of Education says they're investigating: "Ensuring our high school students get the high-quality instruction and meet the standards needed to earn credit and graduate is critical."

The so-called EZ-Pass system has infuriated many people, including alumni, who created a Facebook page called "Things You Never Knew About Bryant High School."

Members of the group plan to rally against the principal outside of the school on Saturday.

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