The wife of a Chicagoland football coach has been accused of illegally using a school administration password and changing the grades of more than 40 of her husband's players.
As reported by the Chicago Tribune and Daily Herald, among other sources, Antioch (Ill.) Community High special education teacher Sara Glashagel has been charged with tampering with computer records after a trail in the school district's computer system traced inexplicable improvements in the grades of 64 students back to her hand. The teacher could face up to a year in jail and $2,500 in fines for tweaking the grades.
Glashagel was caught after police obtained a subpoena to discover the owner of a computer with an IP address beyond the school's network that had electronically changed students' grades on Sept. 17, 18, 20 and 21, and the IP address was traced directly to her personal computer. The four days of changes followed an initial alteration that another teacher reported to school authorities when she couldn't remember any reason why she would have improved the prospective student's grade.
"Our understanding is that some changes were made to make it less obvious, so it wasn't football players only," Antioch police chief Craig Somerville told the Tribune.
While the changes improved the academic standing of nearly the entire football team, there is no indication that Glashagel's husband, Antioch Community football coach Brian Glashagel, had anything to do with the incident. In fact, it's difficult to see why he would have been involved because the changes apparently didn't make any of the affected players eligible to play, other than those who were already eligible.
"I was absolutely blindsided by this," Brian Glashagel told the Daily Herald of his wife's involvement in the grade tampering scandal. "I had no idea who was involved up until three days ago.
"I am assuring everyone beyond my word that I had no knowledge of this taking place in the past. I have offered to police to take a polygraph, and I am still offering that up today. The administrators of Antioch are handling the situation internally, and I am trying to help out the school district any way I can."
Here is how School District 117 co-superintendent Mike Nekritz described how the temporary alterations changed the academic standing of the students' whose grades were changed:
Students in the district cannot participate in sports if their grade point average is less than 1.5, Nekritz said. If their GPA is between 1.5 and 2.0, they get three weeks of probation and extra help to pull up their marks.
Nekritz said that during the time the grade changes were made, no varsity football players were on the ineligible list. Three underclassmen were, he said, but the changes didn't boost their GPAs enough to make them eligible to play.
Because the changes didn't effect the eligibility status of any players, the Illinois High School Association has indicated that it is unlikely that Antioch Community will receive any significant penalty related to the incident.
Every grade which was altered was quickly changed back to its original level, so the case resulted in no permanent academic fraud. Still, questions remain about what motivated Glashagel to change the grades if she wasn't improving the eligibility status of any of her husband's players.
For her part, the special ed teacher has admitted changing the grades, but refused to divulge how she obtained the administrative password or why she improved the students' grades.
All of that makes for a multitude of questions and very few answers, for school officials, administrators and even the football coach who now has to puzzle out why his wife would have taken an action that so directly impacted students he works with every day.
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