New York softball coach facing felony charges for tampering with grades

A New York state softball coach is facing serious charges in connection with a case of tampering with a student’s grades, even though the student she allegedly cheated for was not connected to her softball program in any way.

As reported by the Poughkeepsie Journal, one of our Gannett partners, 45-year-old John Jay softball coach and guidance counselor Bonnie Schilling faces charges Class D felony charges of tampering with public records. The official charges follow a lengthy investigation in which police and Wappingers Central School District officials determined that Schilling used her access to school records as part of her role as 9th grade counselor to tamper with her son’s transcript, inflating his grades.

Schilling has repeatedly denied the charges against her, but she turned herself in to police in the Town of East Fishkill, where John Jay is located. She was initially placed on administrative leave during the spring semester, and officials indicated that she would remain on leave until the conclusion of her case; she is scheduled in East Fishkill Court on September 3 to face the tampering charges against her.

The case against Schilling has rocked the Westchester County softball scene, with the John Jay stalwart one of the area’s most respected coaches. As noted by the Journal, Jay twice won state titles in the sport — in 2001 and 2011 — and was twice named state coach of the year.

Now, after 18 years at the helm, those honors may be viewed in a very different light should the charges against her ultimately be upheld.