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Passions in Poetry

Anorexic Student Denied Valedictorian Title

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Christopher
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50 posted 05-26-2005 07:49 PM       View Profile for Christopher   Email Christopher   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Christopher

He has the right to tell you Mike. Just as you have the right to ignore him.

I will agree that having a right and exercising it are two different matters.
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51 posted 05-26-2005 08:18 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

There's a differece between having the right and having the power...otherwise, I agree, Chris.
Not A Poet
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52 posted 05-26-2005 09:25 PM       View Profile for Not A Poet   Email Not A Poet   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Not A Poet's Home Page   View IP for Not A Poet

The problem is in the "rule" itself. Its stated purpose was to prevent outsiders form transferring in late and taking top honors from students who spent their academic careers earning high grades at the school.

In this case, it has failed miserably. In fact, it has had exact opposite effect. Instead of penalizing a transfer, it has penalized a student who spent her whole time at that school, earning top grades all the way, a student whom everyone expected to win the award. Where is the fairness in that?

When a rule is proven to be wrong, to accomplish the exact opposite from its original intent, it can and should be corrected. This is quite obviously one of those cases. The administration has all but admitted such. It is certainly clear that the rule eas poorly worded. I'm no lawyer but I am confident that I could have written it in such a way that it would have accomplished the stated goal. No, there is no need to "make an exception to the rule." Instead, make an ammendment or completely rewrite it as it should have been done initially.

A real wrong has been done here and deserves to be corrected. Valedictorian is an honor that means somethine later in life. To offer her "honorary" status is little more than a slap in the face by an administration that is too small-minded to admit their mistake. Even the runner-up, whom they are honoring, says she should be the one. How dense can an administration be?

Pete

Never express yourself more clearly than you can think - Niels Bohr

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53 posted 05-26-2005 10:32 PM       View Profile for Alicat   Email Alicat   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Alicat

Getting back to the original topic, this event is like a doubled sided coin.  On one side, you reward the one who overcame great obstacles but wasn't there, and penalize the one that also excelled but was there.  Or you penalize the one who excelled but wasn't there, and award the one who excelled and was there.  When determining who gets what, academics are the main issue.  In the case of ties, then other factors like extra-curricular activities, volunteer work, and yes, attendance come into play.  If there's still a tie, well....flip a coin.
Not A Poet
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54 posted 05-26-2005 11:03 PM       View Profile for Not A Poet   Email Not A Poet   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Not A Poet's Home Page   View IP for Not A Poet

Not quite right Ali. The one receiving the award only almost excelled but was there. I have to agree with Jim on the attendance point. the young lady who truly excelled did all the work required as I am sure was done by the real runner-up. The fact that she was missing on the specific date mandated by the erroneous "rule" really should have no bearing as the rule should have been declared void since it was proven to be a self-defeating rule anyway. The writers of that poorly conceived rule need to just pull their collective heads out from where the sun don't shine, admit their egregious error in judgement and make things right for all concerned.

This all is JMHO, of course.
jbouder
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55 posted 05-27-2005 02:30 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Pete raises a good point.  After all ... if we all believed in blindly following established rules and their consequences, Southerners would still be trading African Americans on the slave market.  The rule they are applying to this girl is unjust and unreasonable, and probably illegal under these circumstances.

And Mike - I hope you've learned that our first reaction should be to pull for those who need help.  Reform begins with advocacy and a part of advocacy is telling others how you believe they should feel about someone or something.  And Chris is right - you are free to ignore my opinion to your benefit or at your peril.  All I ask is that you support your position with substance rather than being arbitrary and capricious about these serious matters.

Chris - I think you're missing the point.  Nobody questions this young girl's academic achievement.  In fact, it's pretty amazing that she maintained that standard under the circumstances.  I think she satisfied all of the substantive criteria to be deserving of the honor.  From the sounds of it, she was denied the honor on no other basis besides her having an eating disorder that required treatment.

Question to you and Mike: If she had missed school to be treated for leukemia, would your position be the same?

Jim
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56 posted 05-27-2005 05:19 PM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

I wonder, had the treatment taken place in TEXAS, and not OKLAHOMA, if they would be taking the same stance?

*shaking head*
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57 posted 05-27-2005 06:53 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

...and I can ask that, if she were in the hospital having a baby, would your position be the same? Then we can come up with a list of other situations and vote on them.....that's where exceptions lead.

The one thing that strikes me a little odd about this entire scenario is that the school had given the parent a reminder warning about the rules beforehand. SOmehow that leads me to believe that the treatment could have been done at another time that did not conflict with the school rules otherwise why a warning? You don't warn somebody about committing an action that cannot be averted.

she was in a treatment facility seeking help for the eating disorder, anorexia nervosa.

That sounds like a voluntary action on their part, not a mandatory one, which could have been handled in a way not to conflict with the school rules and it certainly makes comparing it to leukemia a moot point.

I am certainly not againt this girl. In my first post here I mentioned how I sympathized with her. Had she been named valedictorian, I certainly wouldn't have complained but it's the demanding exceptions to the rules that I disagree with, if alternatives were possible.

...and thanks, Jim. The next time Dwight is strapped into a hospital bed screaming that he will kill any doctor that tries to get near him after having smashed every radio, television and computer in the house because the devil was using them to talk to him, I'll try to remind myself not to be so capricious.
Not A Poet
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58 posted 05-27-2005 08:35 PM       View Profile for Not A Poet   Email Not A Poet   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Not A Poet's Home Page   View IP for Not A Poet

Wrong again Mike. The alternative to treating anorexia is death. Had she been your daughter, could you have advised her to put off something so important? As important as valedictorian can be, sacrificing ones life for it makes little sense.

Hold on there Sunshine. I think Noah said the was in Denver. That's Colorado, not Oklahoma. We don't allow schools to make  such foolish "rules" here! I suspect Kansas doesn't either.
Tim
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59 posted 05-27-2005 09:05 PM       View Profile for Tim   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Tim

"Question to you and Mike: If she had missed school to be treated for leukemia, would your position be the same?"

That would be the point.  

What if her mother had been ordered to Iraq for six months and she had to go live with her father in another state the first six weeks of school?

What if her family got transferred to another job in another locale?

What if she broke her leg playing soccer?

What if...  what if...  what if...

Again, the rule may be wrong, but if it is uniformly enforced, then it is not discrimination because someone with a mental illness was subjected to the rule.

How was she not accomodated?  She attended school, she got whatever grade she got with missing a substantial portion of the school year.  She got her education.  By virtue of the fact the rule is in place and she had a 5.5 grade point indicates something.

It would be interesting to note if she was a National Merit finalist, or what her ACT was.

There was a boy in my daughter's class who missed out being a co-valedictorian because he got a B+ in driver's ed (a one hour class)on his driving ability.  He didn't have the same 4.0 the other co-valedictorians had.  Was that fair?
He was denied valedictorian because he was uncoordinated.

That is why schools have to go to weighted G.P.A.'s because if the students don't get A's, the parents raise holy heck... and students take classes and teachers, and drop classes and teachers at the high school level to get the A rather than learning.

She was denied nothing educationally except she did not get a title because of a rule that I assume was applied uniformly to everyone.

Say the rule is stupid, but if one's immediate reaction is discrimination exists if someone does not get what they want, then it will not be hard to find.

The problem is not discrimination, it is we have to find discrimination in everything, and yep, life ain't fair.  She got treated unfairly because of a rule that may be unfair, (and I will agree, a stupid rule, but for a different reason than most would take) not because she suffered from a mental illness, but in the long run, I suspect as far as college admittance, she has hit the bonanza.  

I doubt college admissions consider an "A" student as an overwhelming credential since most schools have a substantial portion of their student body on high honors.  She now has the recognition to set her apart.

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60 posted 05-27-2005 10:07 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Pete, you make it sound like she had to have that treatment then to keep her from dying. If that were the case, then of course I would agree...it would be insane not to. The way the article was written, however, leads me to believe that was not the case. First, as I said, the school warning in advance. Second, the parents saying that they were hoping the rules wouldn't be enforced. Now I ask you..if she were receiving treatment necessary to save her life at that time, would they be saying 'we were hoping the rules wouldn't be enforced'? No, they would be screaming, "You dunderheads!!! She's dying and needs this treatment to survive!!!" (or something like that) )  So it appears to me, from this article, it was not the life or death scenario you may be leaning toward and, without further information, we can't know from here.

I agree with Tim that the rule leaves a lot to be desired. A lot of rules leave a lot to be desired. I would hate to be the father of a daughter murdered by some jerk who gets off on a techncality...the search warrant wasn't signed properly, he was not advised of his rights or any one of a myriad of ways criminals walk away scot-free. You may scream, "My daughter is dead! That doesn't change just because the search warrant wasn't signed!!"...and you would be right. Guess what? It wouldn't matter. A travesty of justice, for sure. This student's case may be called the same thing...the results are the same.

If I had to choose between the two, I would choose a school that teaches by example that rules must be followed as opposed to one teaching there are exceptions to every rule. It certainly prepares them better for this insane experience we call life.


p.s....they have schools in Oklahoma???
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61 posted 05-27-2005 10:11 PM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7884243/?GT1=6542

quote:
KINGWOOD, Texas - Karen Scherr is the top academic student in her class at Kingwood High School in the Houston area, and she has been for the past four years.  

Attendance record negates academic record
Scherr was referring to a requirement that the school’s valedictorian be enrolled in classes by the 20th day of their junior year.

It’s a rule aimed at keeping students from other schools from transferring into Kingwood late in their high school careers to claim one of the coveted top 10 academic spots.

Scherr’s been in the Kingwood school system since kindergarten. But she wasn’t enrolled in her high school on that 20th day of her junior year.  

Instead, she was in a treatment facility seeking help for the eating disorder, anorexia nervosa.

“I was sick. That’s part of the disorder,” said Scherr. “It’s a mental disease.”

While the school warned the Scherr family of their strict attendance policy, her parents made the decision to keep her hospitalized in Oklahoma until her medical treatment was complete a few weeks later.

Right, Pete.

Not Kansas.

My shaking of the head implied, and I should have been clarifying here...that it looks to me like she appeared to be a "transferred" student.  Do we have all the facts here?  Was she temporarily "studying" in Oklahoma?  I think we're missing a huge redfile worth of facts.
Not A Poet
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62 posted 05-28-2005 10:21 AM       View Profile for Not A Poet   Email Not A Poet   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Not A Poet's Home Page   View IP for Not A Poet

Oops, don't know why I thought Colorado. I do remember the Texas/Oklahoma notes now that you remind me. Well, I guess memory is the SECOND thing to go after all.

And sorry Mike. I guess I did imply that death was imminent and there is no evidence of that. But death is the alternative to untreated anorexia. I still maintain that the best time for treatment is whenever the person realizes and accepts the fact that treatment is necessary. If that interferes with something else the so be it.

By the school warning the parents, were they overlooking that fact? Was the purpose to warn them that the needed to get her out of that essential medical treatment just to be there on that particular day? Instead of warning the parents, they should have put their efforts into formulating a rule that would accomplish their intent.

From this discussion, it seems that most, or at least many, may agree that the rule was wrongly written. What reasonable organization insists on enforcing a rule that accomplishes the opposite of its desired effect rather than admit the error and correct it?
jbouder
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63 posted 05-28-2005 01:36 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Mike:

I think you're being arbitrary and capricious about applying the "your choice, your consequences" to this girl's situation.  I empathize with your personal struggles, but they are irrelevant to this discussion, or at least I don't see where you've tied it into the discussion.  Although I think I've either mentioned it or aluded to it several times in this thread, has it occurred to anyone else that this girl might have been entitled to the accommodations I've been writing about from the beginning?

If you're going to insist on enforcing the rules, then you must look at all the rules.  Again, I think it is likely that the school had a responsibility under Federal law to make the accommodations I mentioned.  The same would be true had the student been disabled in a car accident, had a life-threatening illness, or any other disability contemplated under existing law (I don't think pregnancy is included, although forced bed rest when there are complications may fall under the category of physical disability).

The schools have the affirmative responsibility to identify eligible students and develop an individualized education plan to accommodate the identified needs.  Parental involvement is required, but a parent's not following through - and there is an abundance of caselaw on this - does not absolve the school of its Section 504 and IDEA responsibilities.  FOR THE LAST TIME - ALL OF YOU WHO WANT TO STICK TO THE RULES, THERE ARE EXISTING RULES THAT MAY SUPERCEDE THE RULE THE SCHOOL CHOSE TO ENFORCE!!!

Tim:

In each instance you mentioned, one would have to apply the applicable rule to the individual facts.  I'm arguing from the standpoint of disability - where Federal protections have been in place for more than 30 years.  Perhaps the "what-ifs" don't end, but the answers to many of the "what-ifs" can be found in well established law.  In any case where an existing rule, even one uniformly applied, is superceded by a higher law, then the higher law prevails.

A few important facts: (1) Anorexia nervosa is recognized by both the NIMH and DSM IV as a psychological disorder; (2) Anorexia nervosa can be captured under the "emotional disturbance" category of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act - See 34 C.F.R. Part 300.7(c)4(i)(C) through (E) - "Emotional disturbance is defined as follows (i) The term means a condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree that adversely affects a child's educational performance ... (C) Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances, (D) A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression, (E) A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems"; (3) under IDEA, the school has the affirmative responsibility to identify eligible students and develop and education plan designed to meet their explicit educational needs in an environment appropriate to their explicit needs (include homebound or center-based outside of the classroom); (4) local school codes do not supercede Federal disability law.

The "exceptions lead to more exceptions" argument falls flat if you consider the child's educational rights.

And lastly, Mike and Tim, given a choice, my children would attend a school that abides by its responsibilities under No Child Left Behind, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the Rehabilitation Act, the Civil Rights Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Education Act, as well as one that enforces its existing school code fairly and consistently.  Discipline has its place - but its place is most probably not in this girl's situation.

Jim
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64 posted 05-28-2005 03:06 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

I empathize with your personal struggles, but they are irrelevant to this discussion, or at least I don't see where you've tied it into the discussion.

That's easy enough to answer, Jim. YOU brought them into this discussion.

Chris (and Balladeer and LeeJ), the problem I have with your position is that I seriously doubt any of you have a close relationship/relationships with a person or persons with neurological disorders or mental illness.  I also expect you've never implemented any treatment protocols for such cases

I never discuss my personal life if possible on this site and I doubt that over three people here knew my household situation but, if you are going to throw out irresponsible insinuations with no actual knowledge whatsoever if they are accurate enough, then you are asking for the gauntlet to be picked up. If nothing else, I hope you have learned not to jump to personal conclusions so readily.
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65 posted 05-28-2005 03:41 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Pete, I certainly agree with a lot of your points, from a common sense point of view.

What reasonable organization insists on enforcing a rule that accomplishes the opposite of its desired effect rather than admit the error and correct it?

You mean, besides Congress and our judicial system?


I've read that article several times and a couple of things jump out at me, fisrt the fact that she wasn't enrolled. It wasn't just the case that she was missing classes - she hadn't even enrolled in the school for her junior year. COuld her parrents have enrolled her even without her being there? I don't know.

The other thing that is a burr under my saddle is the way the article was written. I think we all know what today's press is like. They live for going on feeding frenzys and championing causes. Well, they have a doozy here - a sick girl being denied her due by an overly-strict school system with archaic rules they refuse to bend for her sake, etc. etc. I don't know about your part of the world but, down here, that school would be toast. Reporters and news channels would raise their banners and go after everybody associated with the fiasco. The school prinicpal would have his quotes on page one and his entire academic record would be fodder for anyone with a press badge. All school policies would be gone over with a fine-tooth comb, students would be searched out who have complaints about being treated unfairly by this school, mothers would march and protest the school's actions, placards waving overhead demanding justice for the victim here.

This is nothing like that. The article touched on the facts, not condemning the school's position, simply reporting the actions. No outrage, no cry of foul....nothing. This leads me to believe one of two things - either the school principal also owns the newspaper or, as Sunshine alluded to, perhaps there are other things in play here that were not included in the article that make a difference. Beats me, but I see a very lukewarm article here on such a volatile topic and i wonder why.
Not A Poet
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66 posted 05-28-2005 05:31 PM       View Profile for Not A Poet   Email Not A Poet   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Not A Poet's Home Page   View IP for Not A Poet

Mike, notice that I did refer to "reasonable" organization. That specifically excludes both Congress and the Judicial system.   
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67 posted 05-28-2005 06:28 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

That's true, Pete...I also noticed how you deliberately refused to answer my question as to whether or not there are schools in Oklahoma!
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68 posted 05-28-2005 07:28 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Mike:

First, I think you're over reacting.  Second, I admit that I was mistaken in assuming what I did about your personal life based on the position you were presenting.  Still, I have a hard time understanding that, given your experiences, you still cannot see the civil rights issues raised by this situation.

The school shouldn't be lambasted, but it should be corrected.  Based on my last post, are you at least willing to accept the the school's actions might have been illegal?

JIm
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69 posted 05-28-2005 07:48 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

the school has the affirmative responsibility to identify eligible students and develop and education plan designed to meet their explicit educational needs

I can't say, Jim. As I have just said in the comment above this one, I don't think we have the full picture. There are too many gaps. As far as what I have highlighted here, the fact remains that she was not a student. She had not yet enrolled. How could the school commit an illegal act against a non-student? I repeat, we don't have the full picture. We are trying to reconstruct and judge the entire scenario based on one newspaper article. It would seem to me that if they did indeed commit an illegal action, someone would be acting on it.

Overreacting? I do that when insulted and/or told how I should think. I have insulted no one in this thread. Nor have I told anyone how they should think. I've expressed my views.  That's the difference between your comments and mine.
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70 posted 05-28-2005 08:22 PM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

Only knowing the local school system here from the viewpoint of having worked for an attorney who was the lead counsel for the district, all I can say, again [and with some qualified certainty] that indeed, we most likely do not have all of the facts.

If the media were to ever look at a news story truly from a legal aspect, I suspect a lot more of us would be reading less "flash point news" articles and spending a lot more time watching Nascar, golf, or baseball on the weekends [while we ladies would probably get a whole lot more done with family and writing, in whichever priority we prefer.]

As a personal comment, I am sick to being detered from reading/listening/watching the news much, anymore. Flash points are indeed what are given, and the most we can expect is that they will [and sometimes will not] name the correct parties involved, let alone know the facts that NEED to be reported until AFTER it has become a huge issue.

As for the schools' rules and regs - they have so many groups pulling for all sorts of accomodations - and not that they shouldn't be given - but for every new accommodation made, that is more money literally being taken away from the original requirement that schools were set up for to begin with - to teach! The public argues against the raising of taxes - but without those dollars, the legitimate, special needs of individuals will continue to erode a school's original purpose.  [By the way, that is NOT sports.]

For anyone who wishes to continue this conversation with facts, then that person indeed ought to go and find out the "rest of the story" behind this young lady's situation. Personally, I know that most responsibile folk in the education and administration of such systems are completely aware of the various and multiple laws they have to deal with each day, and I am also fairly sure that they indeed gave a lot of thought to this particular situation.

If I sound a bit embittered over this, I am.  I have seen various families whose child's medical needs have nearly bankrupted local districts. Instead of working with the system, or improving the system, they just attacked it because their special child wasn't getting the same treatment as every other child.

Jim, please do not misunderstand me. I feel all children need to be given the chance to be enrolled and have adequate help necessary to their child's needs. And I do not know the severity of your child's needs, so I am not in any way saying that your child doesn't belong in the public school system. What I am saying, however, is that there are several families out there whose children do NOT belong in the public school system because that very system is being used for nothing more than a babysitting service, as some of those children need assistance that goes far BEYOND what public schooling can supply.  But they [the school systems] are set up, and in two or three years, when their child hasn't advanced "as we have been told by other authorities that s/he should have!" then all I can say is, parents, please place your children where they WILL be able to receive one on one education. The public school system is going to be damaged severely by the "special" demands that [I feel] are being placed on their educators.

Jim, as I said, this is in no way being said with regard to your own child's special interests. If you remember, several years ago I sent you some information on special education needs/requirements. It has been since then that I have seen those with "special needs" simply drain the system.

I've half a mind to delete this, but I'm going to let the comments stand. I do not particularly like confrontation or arguments of any kind, but I truly feel you are all battling a war that need not be fought simply because - I am sure that we have NOT been presented with all of the facts. Until we have them, let's not assume things of which we have no knowledge.

Speculate all you will - but do it by looking at all possibilities.

End of rant.

Thank you.

Bowing out.

[This message has been edited by Sunshine (05-28-2005 09:28 PM).]

Not A Poet
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71 posted 05-28-2005 08:35 PM       View Profile for Not A Poet   Email Not A Poet   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Not A Poet's Home Page   View IP for Not A Poet

Sorry Mike. I read that as a rethorical question. Yes, we do have schools in Oklahoma, have for several years now. Some of them are even pretty good. Of course, some still suffer from being taken over by the federal courts several years ago. Someday we hope to actually recover from that fiasco.
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72 posted 05-28-2005 09:21 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

I searched and found this article in the Kingswood Observer..

In fact, proof that the district recognized her status as a student is that teachers continued sending her assignments, coaching her and maintaining contact with her.
Scherr was reportedly sent assignments during her recovery and was graded on them like any other student who misses classes due to an illness. The school obviously recognized her as a student who would return to class following her recovery.


If this is indeed the case I am happy and willing to reverse my opinion of this case and side with the young lady. The school would have negated its own rules by giving her student privileges and status.
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73 posted 05-28-2005 10:16 PM       View Profile for Not A Poet   Email Not A Poet   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Not A Poet's Home Page   View IP for Not A Poet

Interesting.
Sunshine
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Member Caelestus
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74 posted 05-28-2005 10:45 PM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

What, Pete? What is interesting? That I ranted? Or that 'Deer acquiesced to knowing that more is needed to know?

I'm on a kick tonight - please forgive that. I'm just tired of the schools not being able to manage what they have to deal with, day in, day out, that's all.

Thanks for any clarification you can give on "interesting".
 
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