TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) – Getting a newsletter that says your child shows a “positive attitude” and “initiative” is something all parents want.
A family in Ottawa County felt good reading these words of praise about their son. But there is a catch, because he has never attended the school in question. In fact, their other child did not attend either, but also obtained satisfactory grades.
So how could this have happened? It turned out to be a combination of issues.
The living room is not a traditional classroom, but it is a school for the Halsey children. They are home schooled and this school year they are doing it in the local school district of Genoa. The children recently received intermediate grade reports. Strangely enough, these reports came from Toledo.
âI almost didn’t open them. I did it and then at first I was like it was weird and then the more I thought about it I thought it was pretty sketchy, âsaid Melody Rushlow, the mother of the children.
This family lived in Toledo, specifically within the confines of Arlington Elementary School. Each year, they informed the public schools in Toledo of their intention to teach at home without problems. TPS has always accepted and approved the program.
They moved to Genoa this year and got similar approval from schools in Genoa. At the end of September, this unexpected draft report from Arlington Elementary School arrived with actual grades as a “satisfactory” for Gabriel in math. Ditto for Cayla in music and art. These kids have moved and have never been to Arlington this year.
âI was just stunned. I had no idea how he could have slipped thinking he was cracking so to speak, âsaid Rushlow.
As if the grades of children ever in this class weren’t bad enough, Gabriel’s report contains comments on his efforts in class. Her math teacher remarks “shows a positive attitude” and “shows improvement.” In science, this same teacher says âshows interest and initiativeâ. Gabriel never met this teacher. Leading Rushlow to wonder who actually writes these comments.
“If the teacher herself did this, I wonder a bit how she knows the children in her class if she pays special attention to one of them because that child does not exist for her” , Rushlow said.
13abc asked TPS how this could happen. A spokesperson tells the I-Team it’s a combination of things. When the family left Toledo, TPS said it had not been officially informed that the children had left, although Genoa admitted to having them. TPS did not put them on the home schooling list and they were assigned a building and a classroom.
The big question: How did Gabriel get that personalized feedback when he wasn’t around?
This district spokesperson says there is another child in this class with the same first name and the teacher has confused them.
TPS noted their unexcused absences, Gabriel with 16 and Cayla with 13, which is also strange as they are twins and in the same class.
TPS officials said they did not have a phone number on file to call parents about absences, sent letters that were returned without a transfer address, and sent a staff member to the ‘old house in Toledo but have not found the family.
Somehow the interim grade report was mailed to Genoa. Now this mom wants to make sure her kids aren’t counted against the state’s GST money.
âI feel like my children have been used for purposes that I might not want them to be. It looks like fraud and I just wasn’t prepared for them to be part of it, âRushlow said.
The TPS says it self-reported the incident to the Education Department and retrained these teachers on provisional report cards that are not real report cards according to the district.
State money is paid to districts based on enrollment. A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Education said schools had started submitting data but had until December 20 to finalize it. Rushlow still has his concerns, but says it hasn’t affected actual child labor.
“I am concerned that this is happening on a larger scale and that it is just unknown,” Rushlow said.
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