New recording sheds light on asterisk removal program at Yates High School

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A video sheds light on how much physical labor Yates High School students can do to make up for lost class time (KTRK)

Eyewitness News has obtained a new audio recording, shedding more light on how much physical labor Yates High School students can do to make up for lost class time.

A Yates teacher says in the recording, she asks another Yates employee to explain the asterisk removal program. Here's part of the transcript:

    TEACHER 1: "And like, they actually work. They mop, they clean, like what the, uh, custodians do."

    TEACHER 2: "Oh, that's what they were doing all this week. Doing all that cleaning up and stuff."

    TEACHER 1: "Usually on the Saturdays, they mop the second floor, the third floor, they start at the SOC, they do the SOC over here, they come all the way to the middle of this."


Multiple Yates students and parents tell Eyewitness News janitorial work should not take the place of classroom time.

Jimmy James is one of those students. He says students can come in on a Saturday, mop floors and clean off desks for two hours to make up for four or more missed class period. James says some students have the following attitude regarding the asterisk program.

"Oh you know, I can go to school two days a week and that's it," James said, "And just miss the rest of the days and I can do an asterisk removal."

Gurpreet Garcha is a junior at Yates. She says she has a 4.5 GPA and was forced to do janitorial work because she missed too many classes when she was sick.

"I had to clean and scrub the walls, so that was pretty much -- I didn't want to do it," Garcha said, "But because I had to get my asterisks removed, I had to do it. I had no other choice."

Garcha thinks students should be able to make up classwork or do other assignments instead of cleaning.

"You should have, like, three hours of that class or two hours to get those particular asterisks removed, not sweeping the school or cleaning the school," Garcha said, "That's not our job. We are students there. We are not sweepers, we don't take care of the school, so no."

Some parents hope students do not see this program as a way to skip class.

"You just look at it as an alternative, like if I miss school, they ain't gonna do nothing but let me clean up and then we'll pass," Lena Williams said, "But you know, hopefully some of them don't try and take that easy way out."

According to HISD, allowing students to make up attendance credit by doing physical labor is within district guidelines. Yates High School Principal Donetrus Hill announced his resignation Friday. He has not answered requests for comment. A spokeswoman for HISD tells Eyewitness News Hill's resignation has nothing to do with the asterisk removal program. Eyewitness News is waiting to hear whether or not Superintendent Terry Grier will agree to an on-camera interview to discuss the asterisk removal program.

Principal Hill announced his resignation Friday. He has not answered our requests for comment. A spokesman for HISD tells us Hill's resignation has nothing to do with the asterisk removal program. We're waiting to hear back on whether or not Superintendent Terry Grier will talk with us on camera about this.
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