Winner 2006

Left Behind: The Failure of East St. Louis Schools


Responding to a tip about a 14-year-old special-needs student abandoned by the East St. Louis School District, KMOV-TV’s investigative team uncovered shocking evidence of corruption and incompetence in District 189. In 21 special reports broadcast over seven months, KMOV revealed that the district violated state and federal laws. Adequate special education services were not provided for students. Taxpayer dollars were squandered on excessive training expenses. And despite repeated requests, the appropriate special education faculty were not hired. Instead, the district created superfluous jobs, many of which went to political allies and relatives of school board members. District representatives repeatedly dodged interviews and blocked access to school board minutes, but KMOV reporters persisted, eventually securing interviews and meeting records. Their investigation led to the admission by the superintendent that the district had failed special education students. The special education department was reorganized and charter schools were supported for the first time in four years. For its in-depth investigation and unrelenting commitment to the community, Left Behind: The Failure of East St. Louis Schools receives a Peabody Award.


Executive producers: Genie Garner. Reporter: Craig Cheatham. Photographer: Gary Womack.