Ohio Department of Education is checking whether there is any truth to claims some school systems in the state retroactively altered student attendance records to improve results on district report cards.
Ohio Superintendent of Public Instruction Stan Heffner said if evidence of such manipulation is found, he'll seek criminal and civil investigations.
Although the inquiry is in a preliminary stage, it's not inappropriate to consider how districts found to have falsified attendance data might be punished.
Heffner outlined some options, saying the districts could have ratings on their state report cards reduced. That should be done just to maintain the accuracy of the rankings.
He also said districts could face financial discipline, such as fines or a decrease in state aid. Then, he said something encouraging.
"However, I also don't want to do anything that hurts the opportunities of students because of the bad behavior of adults," he said.
Again, we note no individual administrators or staff members have been informally accused - let alone formally charged - with providing fraudulent data. But if the inquiry and a subsequent investigation determines that did occur, it is the adults in charge who should suffer, and not the students.