PASCO COUNTY, Florida – Parents are generally proud when their child makes the honor roll, but Beth Tillack, the mother of one such student at Pasco Middle School, is anything but beaming. When examining her son’s report card, Tillack read hand written comments from his teacher – including “good job,” a smiley face and a note saying her son had made the honor roll. The only problem was, her son received a “C” and “D” among the grades.
“I immediately assumed it’s a mistake,” said Tillack. “It doesn’t make any sense. The bottom line is there is nothing honorable about making a D. I was not happy, because how can I get my child to study for a test when he thinks he’s done enough.”
Pasco Middle School Principal Kim Anderson explained that handwriting notes of encouragement has been a practice among teachers at the school since the 1990’s. However, after Tillack lodged her complaint, Anderson said the school revoked the first draft of her son’s report card and replaced the “good job” with “Work on Civics. Ask for help.”
“I think I’ll caution teachers to look at the report cards carefully,” Anderson said.
Anderson justified the boy’s place on the honor roll suggesting that its membership is based on points and even an “F” could be offset by enough A’s. The point system, according to Anderson, is Pasco School District policy and it’s a policy she does not support. “I do think it’s important that we look at the situation,” Anderson said.
A Pasco School District Spokesperson confirmed that school leaders are now reviewing the policy and considering a change of the requirements for honor roll. If changed, it could potentially impact some 35,000 Pasco middle and high school students – most of whom thought they were really smart.