(WSVN) - Just days after being hired, a high school principal resigned when student journalists raised questions about her degrees.
Amy Robertson was hired in March to be principal of Pittsburg High School in Pittsburg, Kansas. Upon hearing the announcement, journalists with the school’s student newspaper, the Booster Redux, began to research her.
The students soon found discrepancies in Robertson’s education credentials, Fox News reports. They discovered that Corllins University, where Robertson said she received her masters and doctorate degrees, did not appear to be an accredited institution.
“She was going to be the head of our school, and we wanted be assured that she was qualified and had the proper credentials,” student Trina Paul told The Kansas City Star. “We stumbled on some things that most might not consider legitimate credentials.”
Students found several instances of Corllins being considered a “diploma mill” where people could simply buy degrees and diplomas.
“That raised a red flag,” high school junior Maddie Baden told the paper. “If students could uncover all of this, I want to know why the adults couldn’t find this.”
Superintendent Destry Brown said the Pittsburg Community Schools Board of Education had approved Robertson’s hiring, but acknowledged the district relies on the Kansas Department of Education to approve a candidate’s credentials.
The school district issued a statement, saying, “In light of the issues that arose, Dr. Robertson felt it was in the best interest of the district to resign her position. The Board has agreed to accept her resignation.”
“I do feel it is my responsibility,” Brown told the Kansas City Star. “As superintendent I feel like I let the teachers and the students down. I publicly admit that.”
Although Robertson resigned, she defended her degrees from Corllins, telling the paper, “The current status of Corllins University is not relevant because when I received my MA in 1994 and my PhD in 2010, there was no issue.”
She continued, “I have no comment in response to the questions posed by PHS students regarding my credentials because their concerns are not based on facts.”
Pittsburg High School journalism adviser Emily Smith said she was “very proud” of her students’ work.
“They were not out to get anyone to resign or to get anyone fired,” she said. “They worked very hard to uncover the truth.”
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