Teacher Sold Grades For Cash, High School Says

Jeff Spires cash for gradesTeachers, we like to think, instill our children with a few moral principles, along with the state-set curriculum. Success is the fruit of hard work and perseverance, for example.

And if hard work and perseverance aren't enough, you can always try cash.

That was one real world lesson that Jeff Spires is accused of teaching his students at Charlotte County High School in Charlotte County, Fla. According to an investigation issued by the school, and reported by ABC affiliate WZVN, Spires told his class to staple or paperclip cash to the back of their quizzes if they wanted to sweeten their grades.

Several students reported the practice to administrators, who immediately put Spires on paid leave, according to Barbara Melanson, assistant superintendent of human resources. They began an investigation and Spires allegedly confessed to taking approximately $60 to $70 from a junior to raise the student's grade from a C to a B. A senior paid out $15 and $30 to jack up his score on a quiz.

The teacher was suspended without pay on Oct. 14 and resigned by the end of the month.

When investigators asked him why he did it, Spires reportedly replied: "That's what I don't know, why. Maybe I see the kids are as desperate as I am."

According to the investigation, Spires did draw a line somewhere; he turned down $200 from a sophomore who asked for an upgrade from a B to an A. The students' grades had apparently already been submitted for the quarter.

"This is one of the most disturbing events I've seen in my 40 years," Douglas Whittaker, Charlotte County Public Schools Superintendent, told WZVN. Asked if Spires would ever teach again, Whittaker paused hard in thought. "Wow," he said. "I don't think he will teach again in the state of Florida."

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