13 Clayton high students allowed to graduate without enough credits, officials say

Johnston County News

CLAYTON, N.C. (WNCN) — More than a dozen students who were declared graduates during the most recent school year at Clayton High School should not have been allowed to graduate, Johnston County Public Schools officials said Friday morning.

Thirteen students at the school “did not attain the minimum state graduation requirements in order to receive a high school diploma,” the district said in a news release.

State policy requires all North Carolina Public School students to get a minimum of 22 credits in order to be eligible to graduate and receive a diploma. Johnston County Public Schools requires 28 credits for graduation, the release states.

“Based on a review of all available data, these students did not meet either requirement,” officials said.

The district is in the process of contacting each student involved “and will provide resources to assist them in resolving the requirements needed.”

“I regret this situation with these students and assure them that JCPS will do all that we can to provide them every opportunity to meet these graduation requirements,” said Superintendent Dr. Jim Causby.

District officials are now reviewing previous graduation data at the school to see if any other students were allowed to graduate without meeting the requirements.

“It is a requirement of each school to verify their graduation data in a report to the state each year. In these cases, reviews of the students’ transcripts indicated these students should not have been reported as graduates of Clayton High School with the appropriate requirements,” the news release states.

The school district has informed the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction of the issue and will work on corrective actions, the release says.

District officials did not say if the removal and reassignment of the school’s popular principal, Dr. Bennett Jones, was connected to the graduation credit discovery.

Hundreds of students over the past few weeks have held rallies and spoken at Johnston County School Board meetings to express their outrage at Jones’ removal.

Kim Winslow, who is among the parents leading the effort to reinstate Jones as principal, said she was outraged by the news of the graduation issue Friday.

“When Dr. Causby came in as the interim, he had referenced the mistrust that exists in the school system and this just magnifies that, Winslow said. “And, I find the timing curious as we just called out the competence and tactics of the investigation at the board of education meeting on Tuesday.”

Other parents of Clayton High School students said the revelation came as a surprise to them.

“I’m very concerned. It’s very disturbing actually for something like that to happen. Some of these kids already are gone and have graduated. Some may even be in school,” said Stevie Prince.

CBS 17 reached out to district officials for further comment and asked if they would speak on camera but the requests were refused.

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