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Criminal charges for counselor accused of doctoring transcripts

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

A Fort Lee High School guidance counselor is charged with tampering with transcripts to help several students get into selective colleges, then changing the grades back to where they were once the youths had been admitted.

Ft Lee High

Authorities said they believe Judith Meller, 61, of Fort Lee, acted alone in altering the permanent academic records of six students without their knowledge.

Investigators said she rounded up averages — so that, say, a pair of Bs and a C became straight Bs. Once the colleges had completed the admissions process, they said, she changed the grades back.

Meller already had been suspended, along with Principal Jay Berman, after the alterations were discovered four months ago. She is now charged criminally with falsifying or tampering with records.

Because Meller has tenure, Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli’s options include having her removed from ever working in a public school again, if she wants to negotiate a plea that likely would include fines but no prison time. Consequences could be more severe should she decide to fight the charges at a trial.

School trustees have wittheld any raises that Meller would have gotten since the tampering was discovered. They have yet to publicize the findings of an auditing firm hired to review the grades and records of all district students.


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