A Peekskill High School teacher has been found guilty of changing the answers on Regents exams of two students in 2013 and was fined a half-year salary.
Hearing Officer Dennis Campagna ruled on August 8 that Allison Risoli, 54, a resident of Peekskill and chairwoman of the Social Studies Department at Peekskill High School, altered the answer sheets for the United States History of Government and Global History and Geography Regents tests between January 24 and 31, 2013 and “has engaged in acts constituting Misconduct, Conduct Unbecoming a Teacher and insubordination.”
Risoli’s alterations on the examinations gave each of the students a passing score. She was found guilty of all four disciplinary charges brought against her by the Peekskill School District and was fined $62,293.50.
Under the hearing officer’s determination, Risoli, a tenured teacher, is permitted to return to work for the 2014-15 school year. However, two counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, class E felonies, filed against Risoli by the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office on April 29, 2013 are still pending. If found guilty, she could face a maximum sentence of four years in state prison on each count.
“We believe that justice has been served,” said Douglas Glickert, president of the Peekskill Board of Education. “This decision validates the district’s course of action given the evidence indicating that Ms. Risoli was guilty of compromising the integrity of her role as a teacher when she improperly changed answers on Regents exams.”
“The Board of Education respects the 3020A process, the hearing officer’s decision and awaits the outcome of the other pending matters,” he added.
According to District Attorney Janet DiFiore, several days after Risoli delivered the original answer sheets to the school district’s Data Analyst and the exams were scanned and submitted to the Lower Hudson Regional Information Center, Risoli returned to the Data Analyst’s Office and indicated there was a problem with a few students’ answer sheets.
Risoli “reviewed” the original answer sheets while in the office and then returned the sheets to the Data Analyst, according to DiFiore. A subsequent check showed the answer sheets that were returned were altered. Specifically, Risoli marked the incorrect answer with an “X” and filled in the correct answer, according to DiFiore.
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