The Avila National Police School, where 2,900 students are trained as future agents of the National Police Force, has been the scene of the alleged crimes of document falsification, administrative prevarication and coercion. At least, the head of the Court of Instruction number 1 of Avila believes that there are sufficient indications of this. For this reason, with the approval of the prosecutor, the complaint filed by a professor at the center who denounces the falsification of the grades to approve students who were suspended has been admitted. And it has summoned, as defendants, the chief commissioner of studies and the chief inspector responsible for the department of legal sciences of the center.
According to the complaint, on July 10, after the second partial exam of the XXXV promotion of the Basic Police Scale, the head of the department approached several teachers and, alleging the exceptional circumstances of the course (the face-to-face classes were suspended March 12 and they went to telematics due to the pandemic), he told them that students who got more than a 4 had to record a 5 on the computer grade platform. “Tell the other teachers out there so that they find out,” he added.
The complainant, who has been at the school for six years, replied that his obligation was to record the note awarded by the optical reading machine after reviewing the multiple choice test. “I am not going to put a note that does not correspond,” he concluded. The teachers did not like the fact that they were commissioned to transmit such unusual instruction to their classmates, instead of the management of the center itself.
The inspector drew up a report on the incident, despite the fact that a colleague warned him to “be careful”, as his boss had commented that he would give part of it for disobeying an order, according to the complaint. In his report, he stated that modifying the students’ grades, equating those who obtained a 4 with those who had a 5, would determine their position in the ladder, which would affect their entire professional career. And he added that his duty was “to record the grade that the student actually gets, unless he receives a clear and manifest order to the contrary by the head of the department, in which case he would comply with it.” Although he received multiple calls to change the notes (many conversations are recorded and have been provided to the judge), he never received a written order.
On July 17, the school principal met with the teachers and asked for flexibility in grades. “If an uncle gets a 4.5 or a 4 in a subject, maybe you have to assess whether he is an uncle involved. […] What we do not do, and maybe we would have to do, is whoever is a winner and gets an 8 put a zero ”, he said. “That said, nobody is going to be imposed on anything here, […] I could order it, because I have the power to do it, and I’m not going to do it. Because this, make no mistake, is not the university, this is a police station and we, look at your uniform, we are policemen. Anyone who wants academic freedom should go to university ”, added the head of the school and chief curator. Asked if the teaching guide should be followed, according to which the mark was the result of the test, he answered: “Are we going to keep the mark strictly according to what an exam says that, perhaps, has had a bad day? I think we have to have a little broader vision ”. What he did make clear is that if any student who benefited from the increase in grade complained, they would be demoted to the original grade.
On July 31, the teacher recorded the grades, in which five students had between a 4 and a 5 grade. The following week, when the students took the make-up exam, he realized that the ones he had failed were not on the list, which meant that no one had warned them that they should do so.
By reviewing the grades on the computer platform, he verified that these five students were listed as approved, even though he had recorded the failing grade. While he was verifying the notes of the others and although it was half an hour until the deadline to validate them, they disappeared from his screen. He went to the department head to inform him of the problem, but he downplayed it: “Don’t worry about the issue anymore, it’s solved.” On the last day of the course, contrary to usual, the teachers went on vacation without having signed the grades.
Back at school in September, the head of the department insisted that he should have validated the grades, as he was the only one who left it until the last minute and that had delayed the entire process. When the teacher asked him who had changed his grades, he replied: “I suppose they would give the order. Bear in mind that we are in an organization, that there are interests above those of each one ”.
In the last evaluation meeting of the course, the school director thanked all the teachers, “or practically all”, who had understood the decision to automatically approve those who had more than a 4. “It was a decision to highest level you can imagine ”, he assured.
On October 1, a disciplinary file was opened against the teacher because he allegedly refused to record the notes of his students “adducing inconsistent arguments.” According to the file, the recording of grades “had to be carried out by the head of the department, to avoid damage to the students.” Not a word from the fake ones approved.
The complaint ensures that it is not the first time that the notes have been modified at the National Police School and the case of the daughter of a high-ranking official in the body’s personnel division is cited, who allegedly would have received favorable treatment. The professor’s lawyer, Antonio Suárez-Valdés, assures that these practices “violate the principles of merit and ability to access the public function” and asks that the relations of the head of the school with the improperly approved students be clarified, ” when they were really suspended ”.