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The case of the forged signature rages on

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


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About School Zone

Denise Jewell Gee

Denise Jewell Gee

Denise Jewell Gee joined The Buffalo News in 2007 and currently covers education and suburban schools. She also writes a column for the City & Region section and previously covered government in Erie County and Niagara Falls. Gee graduated from Boston University with degrees in journalism and political science.

@denisejewellgee |

Tiffany Lankes

Tiffany Lankes

Tiffany Lankes joined The Buffalo News in 2013 and primarily covers the Buffalo Public Schools. She has written about education since 2003 at newspapers in Florida and New York. In 2008, she was a nominated finalist for The Pulitzer Prize. Lankes is an Amherst native and graduate of Sacred Heart Academy and Syracuse University. She started her journalism career writing for the News’ NeXt section.

@TiffanyLankes |

Sandra Tan

Sandra Tan

Sandra Tan has been a cityside reporter for The Buffalo News since 2000 and currently covers the Buffalo Public Schools beat. She previously covered the Williamsville school district and was a full-time education reporter for five years prior to joining The News. She graduated from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.

@BNschoolzone |

Deidre Williams

Deidre Williams

Deidre Williams began working for The Buffalo News in 1999 and currently covers Buffalo Public Schools. She formerly was a suburban reporter on the Northtowns beat and has been a cityside reporter covering communities since 2004. Williams has a mass communications degree from Towson University.

@DeidreWilliamsB |