Officials from the Hempstead School District are accused of changing...

Officials from the Hempstead School District are accused of changing failing students' grades to passing. Credit: News 12 Long Island

The Hempstead school district announced Thursday that it has disciplined an employee responsible for releasing an error-filled summer reading list, but did not reveal the punishment -- or the worker's job title or identity.

At an afternoon news conference, spokeswoman Alicia Figueras said that "disciplinary action had been taken." Superintendent Susan Johnson was not present and Figueras did not take questions.

The district has said it was "embarrassed" by the errors in the summer reading list for students in kindergarten through the 12th grade.

The document butchered the titles and names of the authors of such classics as F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby" -- calling it the "The Great Gypsy."

Alice Sebold's "The Lovely Bones" became "The Lovely Bone," and "Animal Farm" was said to be written by George Ornell rather than George Orwell.

"Wuthering Heights," the document said, was penned by Emily Bonte, instead of Bronte. The names of David McCullough and Frederick Douglass also were misspelled.

Roger Tilles, a member of the state's Board of Regents, said such problems can arise when a school district lacks strong, stable leadership.

"As long as you have a situation where the administration is fluid, you are going to have crazy things going on," he said Thursday.

Figueras, reading from a statement, apologized for the errors and called it an isolated incident.

"In response to the technical errors contained within the district's summer reading list, I would like to announce that disciplinary action has been taken against the personnel who made the unfortunate clerical errors while compiling the list," she said. "This should not reflect the district itself and we continue to pride ourselves [on] offering our students the highest quality standards of education."

Earlier Thursday, the district announced in an email that it would hold the news conference to "address actions against an employee who made multiple errors on a computer while compiling the district's summer reading list."

With Gary Dymski

and Amy Onorato

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