VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. (WESH) – A high school principal has received a written reprimand following an incident in which the majority of freshman enrolled in an AP course were given a fake AP test, rather than the real thing.
It happened at Mainland High School in Daytona Beach.
Dr. Cheryl Salerno and another high ranking school district employee were reprimanded.
Disappointed students and their parents say that’s hardly enough punishment.
“She’s absolutely devastated,” said Jen Reilly, whose daughter Molly was one of at least 400 freshmen enrolled in an AP course with the expectation that if she did well in the class and on the test, it would count for college credit.
Only 78 students took the real test, and Molly wasn’t one of them.
“Molly did not just get an A, she worked her tail end off to get an A because she was told all year from her teacher, ‘if you do well, you get college credit,'” her mother said.
According to the internal investigation, Salerno claimed, the AP class was an experiment to lift up the entire freshman class and that students and parents were never told they could get college credit.
Salerno wrote, “My intention was never to dupe anyone nor do I believe anyone has been victimized.”
Salerno maintains she had permission to go forward from the former school district’s chief academic officer, who was also reprimanded, but has since retired, and said the college board signed off on the experiment — something that the college board liaison denies.
According to the report, his office did not authorize this testing plan.
School Board Chairman Carl Persis apologized to the students and parents for betraying their trust, but believes the discipline board stopped at demoting or even firing Salerno because she has no previous blemishes on her record.
“The principal has a stellar record, this is the first time anything like this has occurred,” he said.
But parents, like Reilly, say the principal used the freshman class as guinea pigs without telling them.
She is furious.
“Don’t play with my child’s academic career,” Reilly said.