Documents detail wrongdoing, coverups at EBR Schools
BATON ROUGE- Hundreds of pages of documents the News 2 Investigative Unit obtained today from the Louisiana Department of Education are giving us insight into the thorough investigation into the East Baton Rouge Parish School System.
The documents show allegations to cover up possible wrongdoing stemmed from the highest levels of the EBR School System. The investigation sheds light on things like: cheating, a lack of accountability, an employee forced to delete emails and sloppy record keeping.
The investigation did span a period of time before Superintendent Bernard Taylor took office. However, the problems in the documents show major discrepancies with what Taylor has told us in previous interviews.
The documents revealed that Diane Atkins, Associate Superintendent for Instructional Support, was the one who instructed another employee to delete emails. The employees interviewed during this investigation are referred to by number instead of name.
"Deleted when boss told to, but was tired and realized she shouldn't have," Interview 10 told an Investigator with the Department of Education. Ulimately the email was retrieved.
That goes directly against what Bernard Taylor told us last month when we asked him about deleted emails.
"Stop right there," Taylor said in a March 17. "There's no evidence of that and that's the irresponsible thing I'm talking about."
The documents supplied to the Investigative Unit following our public records request were extensive, and also cover problems like cheating.
"Kids blatantly say, 'Take courses on 2020 (online), you can cheat,'" Interview 11 said.
Taylor also denied allegations of cheating when we talked to him in January.
"It is egregious that anybody would try to cast aspersion on these kids and the hard work they achieved in the classroom," Taylor said on January 9, 2014.
The investigation began over a graduation discrepancy. Taylor told News 2 this year, EBR self-reported the discrepancy. However, the documents News 2 obtained from the state show, Taylor did not self-report the problem until the State raised the issue.
The documents show people at the highest levels knew about issues, but told employees to do questionable things.
"Has been told not to put things in writing," the investigator wrote about Employee 11.
"Kids are paying for incompetence on multiple levels in EBR," Employee 10 said.
We requested an interview with Bernard Taylor today about the most recent problems, but did not hear back.
The documents show Bernard Taylor even asked the state who the whistle-blower was that brought all of this to light.