09 May 2007

We Have A Winner...Sorta

Remember the story of a high school senior whose family was suing the school district because the young lady received only partial credit on an assignment that was turned in a day late? The verdict is in.

A Kanawha Circuit judge on Tuesday threw out the lawsuit of a Sissonville High School student who wanted her grade changed on a leaf project she turned in late.

Judge Duke Bloom granted a defense motion to dismiss the student’s suit, writing that unless a teacher made a mathematical error in calculating a student’s grade, state law forbids anyone else from stepping in to change it.

“It is not, in this Court’s view, a proper role for a court to assess whether a particular penalty imposed for turning in schoolwork late is too harsh,” Bloom wrote.

There were a number of options available to Hay that would have allowed her to attend the student council trip and turn her assignment in on time, Bloom wrote.

“[Hay] could have sent it to school with a family member or a classmate on the due date. She could have, as she noted, submitted it early. In addition, [she] could have taken a proactive approach and explained the situation to Schultz and asker her how she wanted [Hay] to deal with the deadline in light of the fact that [she] would not be in school on that date,” the order reads.

“Nonetheless, a student such as [Hay], who voluntarily takes on additional responsibilities and activities, needs to make sure she is not neglecting her assigned schoolwork.”

Hay’s lawsuit “appear[s] to invite the judiciary to second-guess grading decisions of professional educators who are traditionally vested with great discretion in performing their responsibilities, such as grading,” Bloom wrote.

“Teaching students responsibility, time management skills, accountability, the importance of deadlines, and discipline, are legitimate goals for our public educational institutions,” the judge wrote.

This is very much what I expected to happen...and likely should have happened. Do I agree with the teacher's grading practices? No. Do I agree with the kid's poor choices in handling the due date of the assignment? No. I do, however, agree that it is not the province of the judiciary system to make a decision on this case. There you have it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think the lawsuit was about whether or not the policies of the school/county were followed in the issuance of the grade and that is what the court was asked to decide. It was not whether or not the grade should be changed, but was the grade that was assigned in alignment with the policies. Apparently, we'll never know since the court upheld the contention that a "grade change" was what was being sought.