Kestrel Heights Charter School

a teacher in a classroom
Bart Everson / Flickr/Creative Commons

State Board of Education members voted Thursday to revoke Kestrel Heights Charter School's right to serve high school students. The Durham K-12 charter school is on thin ice after it uncovered a long-running diploma scandal.

photo of an apple on top of books
Kate Ter Haar / Creative Commons

It began with a tip from two Kestrel Heights Charter School staff members. They pulled aside Kestrel’s executive director Mark Tracy on his visit to the Durham K-12 charter and told him they were worried two seniors did not have the credits to graduate. That tip set off an internal investigation by Kestrel, which revealed past school administrators had been giving out faulty diplomas for years. Since 2008, 40 percent of Kestrel students received a diploma without meeting the state requirements.

Flickr via Cynthia Ahrens / Flickr

An internal investigation has revealed 40 percent of Kestrel Heights Charter School graduates since 2008 didn't actually have enough credit hours to earn a high school diploma. The Durham charter school released a statement Monday saying there was "a systematic breakdown by the high school principals and counselor for the eight-year period in question."