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TUSD defends Pueblo Magnet principal

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TUSD defends Pueblo Magnet principal

CREATED Aug 2, 2012

Reporter:  Jessica Chapin

TUCSON (KGUN9- TV) - They say cheaters never win, but when one local high school principal proposed giving them a break, it sparked outrage.  Now, Tucson Unified School District officials are picking up the pieces and assuring parents that they still have a zero tolerance policy.

Talk radio listeners sounded off Wednesday over an email leaked to  The email came from Pueblo Magnet High School principal Vivi Watt, telling her teachers to use a 50-point scale instead of 100. 

It included this sentence: "If assignments cannot be counted because of plagiarism and/or cheating, please assign a 50 to the assignment rather than a zero which may have been past practice."

That's primarily why it was the topic of discussion for 104.1 The Truth.

"I think that maybe the school is doing so bad that it can't meet its results requirement for funding," said one caller.

"If I don't show up for work do I still get half the pay?" asked another.

9 On Your Side asked TUSD board member Michael Hicks about the proposed change, but he said it's not going to happen, hasn't happened, and can't even become a policy without board approval.

"we're not going to be giving individuals who are cheating a fifty," he said, "No way."

9 On Your Side tried to reach Watt, but were deferred to her boss, TUSD asst. superintendent Abel Morado, raising the question of grade inflation.

He defended Watt, saying it was a misunderstanding.

"The intention was good we have to intervene to help struggling academic students," he said, "but we cannot send out a message and we certainly cannot implement policy without the governing board."

Pueblo Magnet High School most recently went from a C school to a D according to Arizona Department of Education standards.

Morado said he spoke with Watt, and they are going to try new intervention techniques to get struggling students back on track.

According to Morado, TUSD does not plan to take any disciplinary action because they say the policy was never put into place.