A couple says they will sue the Los Angeles Unified School District for not making their daughter valedictorian though she technically received a lower GPA than the student who was awarded the honor.
The parents alleged their daughter was discriminated against by not having had the opportunity to take an AP class in the ninth grade, as she wasn’t a magnet school student. “Elisha Marquez was told that her classmate Jasmine Fernandez, who earned a 4.55 GPA, would be valedictorian of Eagle Rock High School’s graduating class and that Marquez would receive the 2nd-place Salutatorian award,” a local CBS affiliate reports. “The 18-year-old’s family said she earned the same grades as Fernandez but that her GPA ranked just .05 lower because she didn’t take as many AP courses as Fernandez.”
An “A” in an AP class is counted as 5.0 towards a student’s GPA, while it would be considered a 4.0 in other courses. The school system’s response reeks of political correctness. The California Department of Education argues it has “no authority to say anything in the matter because Marquez did not allege any protected group had been discriminated against based on race, gender, national origin, sexual orientation or disability.”
Principal Salvador Velasco added, “They were aware, and they had the opportunity, so they had both–awareness and opportunity,” for Marquez Marquez could have taken that extra course in the 10th and 11th grades instead of 9th. “There’s no discrepancy, no favoritism–every child has the opportunity to take AP classes,” said Dale Vigil, LAUSD’s superintendent for District 4.
From that perspective, it would look like an individual mistake. Had the family been mindful of the requirements to secure valedictorian honors, their daughter could have met them without taking a last-minute course overload in the last semester
Lost in the family’s anger is joy and pride for two seemingly outstanding young women who have realized great achievement, and seem headed for great things in life.
[Marquez] was valedictorian of her class in middle school. As a junior last year, she was among a handful of students who got an engineering internship at the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab. She has been invited back to JPL for a six-week engineering stint, with a $3,000 stipend, starting this coming Monday, June 25. She recently won a scholarship through the prestigious Gates Millennium Scholars program, which is awarded to no more than 1,000 students nationwide. She has been accepted by various Ivy League universities, including Harvard, but has decided to go to Stanford, where she will get a full-tuition-paid scholarship.
Presumably, the other student has had a somewhat similar experience, with many doors now open to her, given her excellent academic performance. That two such apparently outstanding young women have accomplished so much early in life is probably the best thing one can take away from this story in the end.