WEATHER WATCH
Bombshell allegations at another City school -Dead students enrolled, Classes didn't exist
Angel Lewis is currently suing Baltimore City Schools for wrongful termination. She claims North Avenue violated state whistleblower protection laws because when she got to Claremont in 2016, she began reporting what she found at the school under the previous principal (WBFF){br}

A former Baltimore City Schools principal says she believes there’s an organized effort in City Schools to push kids through the system at any cost, even if it means enrolling them in classes that don’t exist. The allegations come as the school district is under fire over so-called ghost students, and now, ghost classes.

Angel Lewis tells Fox45 News she was recruited by Baltimore City Schools in 2016 and brought in to help a troubled school east Baltimore. She says North Avenue knew about ghost student and ghost classes, years ago, because she told them.

Lewis has watched over the past few months as Project Baltimore exposed the massive scandal at Augusta Fells Savage in west Baltimore. For her, it seemed all too familiar.

Angel Lewis tells Fox45 News she was recruited by Baltimore City Schools in 2016 and brought in to help a troubled school east Baltimore (WBFF){br}

“I believe that it is happening at many schools,” Lewis told Project Baltimore.

North Avenue, earlier this month, released the explosive findings of its internal investigation into Augusta Fells. Those findings confirmed six months of Project Baltimore’s reporting, finding grades were improperly changed while upwards of 100 students had questionable enrollment status. The report also found Augusta Fells students were enrolled in classes that did not exist, which Lewis says was happening at her school, Claremont Middle/High School in east Baltimore.

ALSO READ | Explosive report: City Schools finds grade changing and overreporting of students

“I had already reported this information. And so that's why I can emphatically say City Schools was absolutely aware of it,” Lewis told Project Baltimore.

Lewis is currently suing Baltimore City Schools for wrongful termination. She claims North Avenue violated state whistleblower protection laws because when she got to Claremont in 2016, she began reporting what she found at the school under the previous principal, Kamala Carnes. She says, at the time she inherited the school, she had five deceased students enrolled on paper.

ALSO READ | New Augusta Fells principal mismanaged student funds at prior school

“Several staff members, they actually went through the roster with me and let me know who had attended, who never attended, who was deceased,” Lewis told Project Baltimore.

By keeping students enrolled, a school can increase the funding it receives from taxpayers. At Claremont, that included students who were dead.

“One of the teachers even mentioned to me that she attended the funeral,” said Lewis.

When Lewis took over, she says 130 students were enrolled at Claremont, but only about 30 were attending the school. Ghost students, as they’re called by educators, are only enrolled on paper.

Angel Lewis is currently suing Baltimore City Schools for wrongful termination. She claims North Avenue violated state whistleblower protection laws because when she got to Claremont in 2016, she began reporting what she found at the school under the previous principal (WBFF){br}

“What happened is what had been going on for years prior to my arrival, because I was the one who reported it and began to give attention to it, I then became the scapegoat. It's better to blame the new person,” said Lewis.

Baltimore City Schools declined an interview, saying in a statement, "City Schools made a determination not to renew the employment of Angel Lewis. Ms. Lewis disagreed and filed litigation against City Schools. While City Schools does not comment on pending litigation, it is important to understand that the allegations in any legal complaint are tested through an extensive process to determine whether they can be proved true. In this case, the Baltimore City Circuit Court has already granted partial summary judgment in favor of City Schools. A trial on the remaining claims is scheduled for July 2022."

The original lawsuit Lewis filed against Baltimore City Schools details how she issued complaints with North Avenue that Claremont, was “cheating on the statewide assessment”, graduating students that were “not eligible to graduate” and had teachers “not qualified to teach”. Lewis filed complaints stating that students were enrolled in classes that did not exist, saying, “Claremont’s schedule did not include math or science courses”, which are required to graduate.

"These classes aren't listed, how were students in English one if English two isn't listed? Or how are they supposed to be in math and the math classes aren't there? And how is this working for science, because there are no science courses for me to work with the registrar to select with the students," said Lewis.

A 2017 audit, conducted by North Avenue, confirmed classes needed for graduation were not offered at Claremont (WBFF)

Lewis says she believes there were students at Claremont who received a high school diploma without earning it.

“I absolutely believe that,” she said. “Prior to me being a principal, and quite frankly unless something's changed, probably it's still going on today.”

A 2017 report from North Avenue did confirm classes needed for graduation were not offered at Claremont. Five years later, what Lewis reported to North Avenue concerning Claremont, we now know was happening at Augusta Fells. And while Lewis no longer works for City Schools, the principal she replaced at Claremont does- Kamala Carnes is now the principal of Augusta Fells.

Sorry, we couldn't load this embedded content View It On Our Full Site

“I felt that coming in, I could be part of a solution, not knowing that a solution isn't really what they want,” Lewis told Project Baltimore.

“I don't think they want to fix them, because they know them and nothing happens,” she said. “They have the ability to fix it, and they don't.”

Lewis’ wrongful termination lawsuit is scheduled for trial next year. The former principal sat down with Project Baltimore to discuss the many issues she sees within City Schools. Project Baltimore will be staying on this developing story.

View This Story on Our Site