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Glen Cove testing probe not a 'witch hunt': Board of ed

Landing Elementary School in Glen Cove on April

Landing Elementary School in Glen Cove on April 12, 2013. Photo Credit: Steve Pfost

Investigations into alleged testing and grading abuses that have rocked the Glen Cove City School District are not a "witch hunt or hidden agenda," the board of education said in a statement distributed to attendees of its meeting Monday night.

The probes "are warranted based on legitimate, detailed concerns expressed by particular parents of young students, as well as other employees of our District," the two-page statement read.

Officials at the meeting set about their agenda, which, as of 9:30 Monday night, did not include a discussion of the alleged test-coaching and grade adjustments, with limited mention of the scandal.

Board president Joel Sunshine did, however, reference a "tough couple of weeks."

The statement was meant to answer questions swirling in the minds of parents, teachers and others in the Glen Cove community since news of the scandal broke.

If charges against district employees are recommended as a result of the board of education's probe, the board, according to the statement, "will be the arbiter of whether there is probable cause for the charges." The board, therefore, is limited in what it can publicly share about the evidence against employees, the statement read. The meeting was the board's first since the allegations became public.

Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice recently served the school district with subpoenas as part of an investigation that Rice said could result in criminal charges.

One subpoena deals with alleged grade changes on 2012 Regents exams by Glen Cove High School administrators, while the other seeks information on alleged improper coaching on state tests in spring 2012 by teachers at Margaret A. Connolly and Landing elementary schools, district sources have told Newsday.

Christina Braja, mother of a sixth-grader that she said was questioned as part of the investigation, took issue with a portion of the statement that said parents were offered the chance to sit with their child in the interview. Braja said she was not afforded that chance.

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