There are many errors and acts of unethical conduct in the reporting of “Accounting oversight results in faculty debt, dismay,” which was published both on this website and in the March 6 print edition of The Southerner.
Miz Holmes-Ferguson was never interviewed, and so the quotes that were attributed to her are fabricated. She never informed The Southerner of any salary amount owed to the Atlanta Public Schools or any methods of repayment. In addition, her name was incomplete in both the print and web versions of this story.
Beverly Rice-Hooper never disclosed any salary information to The Southerner, and her salary-owed amount was made up.
Enoch Gill was never interviewed. He never disclosed any information about his salary, and he never made the statement attributed to him in the print edition of the story. He did not receive the letter from APS informing him that he had to pay back part of his 2010-2011 salary.
Other information in the story, such as the “cheating bonuses” and “leave salaries” APS paid, and the legal fees APS incurred, were not sourced but should have been. That information came from a post on the AT2W website, which also included clips from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The story reports that 143 teachers received the letter from APS requesting repayment, that the total amount that APS overpaid is $234,000 and that the average repayment is $1,700. This data is also not attributed. The information appeared in the story, “Atlanta school to bill teachers for overpayment,” which first appeared on The Atlanta Journal-Constitution website on Jan. 23.
The staff and advisers of The Southerner deeply regret these ethical transgressions, and we will work hard to regain the public’s trust in our journalistic endeavors.