DC high school grads all got diplomas without meeting basic requirements, Mayor investigates

Residents in Washington, D.C. are still baffled over how every single student at Ballou High School got their diploma, despite many of them not even showing up to class.

It wasn’t just one school. Students across the city graduated despite having missed more than 30 days of school in a single course, findings from the D.C. Office of the State Superintendent investigation found. The investigation is still ongoing, but parents’ demand for answers prompted city officials to share some initial findings.

The city wide audit came after an initial investigation by WAMU and NPR at Ballou, in which they discovered a high rate of unexcused absences.

An investigation by WAMU and NPR has found that Ballou High School’s administration graduated dozens of students despite high rates of unexcused absences. We reviewed hundreds of pages of Ballou’s attendance records, class rosters and emails after a district employee shared the private documents. Half of the graduates missed more than three months of school last year, unexcused. One in five students was absent more than present – missing more than 90 days of school.

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