CHARLESTON - The parents of a straight-A Sissonville High School student have filed an injunction against a teacher and the Kanawha County Board of Education after the girl was given an F on a project.
The suit, filed Feb. 8 in Kanawha Circuit Court, names Jane Schultz and the Board as defendants. The student is only called L.H.
The suit was filed after L.H., who has a 4.5 grade point average, was given a failing grade on a leaf project because it was turned in a day late. The suit says the grade could drop her final grade from an A to a B. However, the student had missed turning in the project because she was out of school on an approved student council trip to Jackson's Mill, the suit says.
The suit says the teacher told the student she could have called her mother to turn the project in for her so that it would not be late.
The student's attorney, Mike Ranson, said the case is not about parents suing a teacher because their student received a bad grade, but instead it is one that questions if a student can be punished for missing class due to a school-approved function.
"The point is, can you be penalized if you're on approved leave from school on a student council trip?" Ranson said.
Ranson then pointed out that students are excused for sporting functions and are allowed to make up work when they return.
According to the student handbook, "teachers are responsible for providing a minimum of one day for each day's absence for students to make up missed work assignments and/or evaluation that are occasioned by excused or unexcused absences."
The lawsuit states the student missed class because she was attending a program that is encouraged by her school and that giving her a failing grade because she was gone is against school rules.
"The act of using grades to punish a child who attends a student council meeting, with school approval, is in violation of the rules and policies of the State Board of Education," the suit says.
The student seeks an injunction against Schultz and the Board and seeks punitive damages for emotional stress, loss of enjoyment of life and loss of scholarship potential.
The case has been assigned to Judge Louis Bloom.
Kanawha Circuit Court case number 07-C-267