Brewton residents gather in support of student accused of tampering with grades
BREWTON , Ala. (WPMI) —
More than a dozen people gathered in Brewton on Tuesday in support of a local student accused of tampering with grades.
Matthew Hutchins, a WS Neal High school student, is accused of changing the grades of a number of classmates.
Many of those who attended Tuesday's gathering were senior classmates of Hutchins. They said despite the allegations, they stand by him.
"We've grown up with him and we know that he's not capable of doing anything like this. We know he's innocent and the truth will come out and we're here to support him," said Tazure Thomas, a senior at WS Neal High School.
Parents told NBC 15 that they don't understand how a student was able to hack into the school's computer network.
"Matt did not do this. I know that from my heart. He did not do that and if I felt like he did, I wouldn't be here," Lillie Jones, parent to a senior student, said.
Charges against Hutchins came down from the Attorney General's Office.
Nearly two weeks ago, officials said school administrators found discrepancies where grades on report cards did not match transcripts.
The discrepancies were allegedly found when school officials were finalizing the Top 10 students for the Class of 2018.
NBC 15 is told that those rankings now sit in limbo while school officials sort out the mess.
"It's very unfortunate for our graduates because many people did work hard for this moment to be in the top of the class and to be recognized," Thomas said.
Shannen Odom gathered this evening and said his son's status on the top 10 list could be affected by the situation.
"All of his hard work, he wants to know where he stands, where he landed in the class but at the same time, it can and does affect scholarships. As a parent, you want all you can get," said Odom.
Hutchins, 18, was booked into the Escambia County, Alabama Jail on Tuesday and held on a $5,000 bond.
Officials said the school district is still working to figure out the top 10 students before graduation on May 22.