High School Journalists Investigate New Principal. Days Later, She Resigns

April 6, 2017

A team of six students at a Kansas high school newspaper investigated their newly hired principal. Days after the students found discrepancies in her credentials, the principal resigned.

student journalists principal resigns
Credit: The Kansas City Star

The student journalists at Pittsburg High School in southeastern Kansas had gathered to talk about Amy Robertson, who was hired as the high school's head principal on March 6.

"She was going to be the head of our school, and we wanted be assured that she was qualified and had the proper credentials," said Trina Paul, a senior and an editor of the Booster Redux, the school newspaper. "We stumbled on some things that most might not consider legitimate credentials."

When they researched Corllins University, the private university where Robertson said she attained her master's and doctorate degree, the website didn't work. They found no evidence that it was an accredited university.

The students did more digging and found several articles referring to Corllins as a diploma mill — where people can buy a degree, diploma or certificates.

student journalists principal resigns
Credit: The Washington Post

On Tuesday night, Robertson resigned.

"In light of the issues that arose, Amy Robertson felt it was in the best interest of the district to resign her position," Superintendent Destry Brown said in a statement.

After local news broke that Robertson had resigned, numerous national journalists tweeted the students' story, congratulating them for their work.

"I honestly thought they were joking at first," 17-year-old Connor Balthazor told The Washington Post. "It was awesome to know that such respected members of the journalism community had our backs."

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