Posted on September 20, 2019

Students Miss 100+ Days of School, Fail Classes, Still Walk at Graduation

Chris Papst, WBFF-TV, September 11, 2019

Another Baltimore City teacher has come forward with serious allegations about what’s happening inside a Baltimore high school.

As Project Baltimore learned, students who missed more than 100 days of school or failed 10 classes in three years, still wore a cap and gown during the 2019 graduation ceremony at Joseph C. Briscoe in northwest Baltimore.

Briscoe is a special needs school with just 79 students. With a budget of $4.3 million, Briscoe spends $54,524 per pupil. By comparison, Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, one of the city’s leading high schools, spends $6,967 per student.


{snip} Last year, 89 percent of its students were chronically absent. In 2017, not one student scored proficient in state testing. Its four-year graduation rate is 5 percent. {snip}


In June, six students wore a cap and gown and participated in Briscoe’s graduation ceremony. Project Baltimore obtained final grades and transcripts for two of them. One student was absent or late 110 days during his senior year. City Schools records show he failed science, a required class, with a 59. But his transcript says he got a D-. He graduated in June.


Project Baltimore obtained a recording of a conversation from inside the school shortly before 2019 graduation. In it, you can hear, what appears to be Briscoe administrators discussing a senior who failed.

“He couldn’t have any work because he wasn’t here,” says someone in the recording.

When it was explained the student never did extra work, the question is asked, “What can we do?”

The response was, “So, we have to do a grade change? Is the final grade in there right now?

“Yes,” someone replies.


Project Baltimore also obtained transcripts for another student, who we are not naming. His transcripts show he failed 10 classes in his last three years of school. Yet, he earned a certificate of program completion. {snip}

We asked the student whether he did any extra work, to which he replied, “Kind of. Sort of. But not really.”

Certificates are intended for students with disabilities who “cannot meet the requirements for a diploma.” But this student said he failed because he just didn’t go to class.

He confirmed the attendance records, showing he missed 110 days of school his junior year out of 180 total days.

When asked if he felt like he deserved to graduate, the student replied, “Not really.”


Not only did City Schools decline an interview with Fox45, North Avenue seemed less concerned about what we found and more concerned about how we found it. The district released this statement: