High School Journalists' Story Forces Their Principal To Resign

“Most high schoolers would never get even close to an opportunity to get to experience ... this,” student staffer Connor Balthazor said to The Washington Post.

A Kansas high school principal has stepped down from her position after a group of student journalists brought to light suspicious information about her credentials.

"In light of the issues that arose, Dr. Robertson felt it was in the best interest of the district to resign her position," Pittsburg Community Schools announced. "The Board has agreed to accept her resignation. The Board will reopen the position and begin the process anew."

Newspaper kids at Pittsburg High School in southeastern Kansas began investigating their former principal, Amy Robertson, after she was hired on March 6, The Washington Post reports

Strange details in Robertson's background prompted a journalism chase that lasted weeks and ultimately exposed inexplicable discrepancies regarding her history in education. This was hashed out in the student newspaper, the Booster Redux. 

"There were some things that just didn't quite add up," Connor Balthazor, a student staffer on the publication, told The Washington Post.

Robertson said she received her master's and doctorate's degrees from a private college, Corllins University.

But when the students looked up the university, which was supposedly accredited, the website was reportedly broken. Later, they found out Corllins had been cited by numerous articles as a diploma mill — a place to buy diplomas. The Booster Redux reported that Robertson stated she had attended Corllins before it lost accreditation. 

Fishy, right? The students wouldn't let up. They even set up a conference call to talk to Robertson to sort out the murky facts ... which seemed not so factual at all.

In the article published March 31, the students reported about the call that Robertson had "presented incomplete answers, conflicting dates and inconsistencies in her responses." In addition, they reported that Corllins is not a U.S. Department of Education-accredited university. The physical address of the college is not known. 

Finally, Robertson — who said she had been in Dubai for more than 20 years and worked at an education consulting firm before becoming principal at the high school — resigned. 

“Everybody kept telling them, 'stop poking your nose where it doesn’t belong,'" newspaper adviser Emily Smith said to The Post. "They were at a loss that something that was so easy for them to see was waiting to be noticed by adults." 

Sometimes, kids really do know best. Kudos to these hardworking students for their tireless journalistic endeavors — the efforts certainly paid off.  

Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Finbarr O'Reilly

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