What the Hell Is Going On at Diddy's Charter School?

Sean “Diddy” Combs attends Sean “Diddy” Combs Fulfills $1 Million Pledge To Howard University At Howard Homecoming – Yardfest at Howard University on October 20, 2023 in Washington, DC. - Photo: Shareif Ziyadat for Sean “Diddy” Combs (Getty Images)
Sean “Diddy” Combs attends Sean “Diddy” Combs Fulfills $1 Million Pledge To Howard University At Howard Homecoming – Yardfest at Howard University on October 20, 2023 in Washington, DC. - Photo: Shareif Ziyadat for Sean “Diddy” Combs (Getty Images)
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As Sean “Diddy” Combs continues to deal with the legal ramifications stemming from his handful of lawsuits, he’s continuing to make negative waves thanks to his East Harlem charter school Capital Preparatory.

In a scathing and shocking report by The Cut, students, parents, and employees of the school — some former and current — alleged that the once heralded establishment has been mired with issues and has seen little to no remedies to fix it from Combs or Steve Perry, “America’s Most Trusted Educator” and founder of Capital Prep schools.

The 14 sources interviewed recall a myriad of harrowing details from within the school such as “unstable” leadership, high teacher turnover, frequent violence, lack of resources and classroom necessities, “botched record-keeping that “resulted in incorrect grades, transcripts, schedules, and test data,” fights and lockdowns; a bed bug outbreak and more.

“He [Diddy] was supposed to be an inspiration to those children, coming from what you might consider the hood — and he was not,” said one parent under the condition of anonymity.

According to parents and students, the issues were exacerbated by the 2020 pandemic, which resulted in both teachers and students failing to show up for classes. In 2021, things appeared to be getting worse as classroom necessities such as chairs weren’t provided and led to some kids having to sit in the hallway to do their work.

For other students, the lack of organizational record-keeping meant that kids were “enrolled in courses they had passed years before, while teachers saw class sizes double or triple with children who weren’t supposed to be there.”

Not only did the lack of proper grade keeping translate to confusion inside the classrooms at Capital Prep, it also trickled down into several student’s college admissions applications, where a handful of them received notifications from the universities about how incorrect their transcripts were.

The Cut has more:

An employee who worked in records says that students would sometimes have scores for Regents exams they’d never taken. Another says management once suggested they change a course title on a transcript to satisfy a state requirement. A third employee says almost all transcripts were wrong and that his attempts to flag the problems to management were disregarded. When a teacher left midway through the year without leaving any records about students’ progress, the school had to figure out what to do about their grades.

“I was literally sitting in a conversation with the director of data and with the director of schools, and we were talking about what to do with this person’s grades,” the teacher says. “I was like, ‘Well, there’s no teacher.’ And they were like, ‘Really? Oh, okay. Well, then I guess we gotta pass them.’” The disorganization also made some college applications unfeasible. “These colleges started sending transcripts back, like, Oh, no, this ain’t right,” says a teacher.

Still, the glimmer of celebrity that Diddy carried with his name (and $1 million dollar check) attached to the school seemed to both outshine and outweigh the valid concerns from parents and students who tried to sound the alarm and get answers at every turn.

“None of that money ever translated to any more resources; it didn’t translate to more laptops, to more boards, or chart paper,” said one former employee.

Added a parent of a former student: “I was emailing the teachers. I was emailing leadership. I was emailing everyone. No one is responding to me. There were times that they wouldn’t even allow me to go up to the office to speak to anyone. I wasn’t sure what they were trying to hide.”

Capital Prep has maintained that 100 percent of its students are accepted into four-year colleges/universities. According to data collected by the state of New York, however, that percentage actually sits at around 70 percent.

Capital Prep’s Director of Communications and Development responded to the allegations: “We accept and are saddened that some scholars and colleagues were not pleased with their experience. However, we affirmatively state that many of the allegations included in your fact-checking list are fabrications.”

Diddy co-founded the school in 2016. The school parted ways with himin 2023.

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