Can a person actually forge his or her own signature?
Well, that's the argument that officials from Buffalo Public Schools are going with.
It all started last October when parent leader Timekia Jones filed a complaint with the State Education Department and with U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr., alleging that school leaders forged her signature several times on key school documents.
Once of those documents was the 2013-14 School Comprehensive Plan, a road map to improving student learning at Harvey Austin School, where Jones is a teacher's aide. The signature of a parent representative is required to prove to the state that the school involved all stakeholders – including parents – in the development of school improvement and spending plans.
Jones said she was having a biopsy done at Buffalo General Medical Center at the time she supposedly signed the papers.
Then she spotted her signature on four other documents that pertain to Title I spending plans for the 2012-13 academic year, including signatures validating cash disbursements and other expenditures.
Again, she said, they were not her signatures.
But district officials responded to Jones’ attorneys last week that they had hired a “well-known, well-qualified investigation firm with a view toward obtaining an objective review.”
In the investigative process, the firm hired an handwriting expert, who concluded that Jones faked her own signature on the documents.
Yes, that’s right. The district is claiming that Jones used a method called disguised writing to deliberately fake her own signature.
Here’s a copy of the letter to Jones’ attorney from Rashondra M. Martin, the school district’s general counsel, stating the district’s position.
-- Deidre Williams