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May 17, 2005 4:43 PM   Subscribe

A high school senior has been denied valedictorian status because she wasn't enrolled in the high school on the 20th day of her junior year. Why? Because she was in a treatment center receiving help for anorexia. Only in Texas...
posted by C17H19NO3 (94 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
She should have registered by the deadline. Guess she's not THAT smart.

Yes, its unfair but show me a school system that's fair.
posted by fenriq at 4:49 PM on May 17, 2005


Before this is mentioned, it is the school's policy (the enrollment rule). However, the argument is that she had kept up with her school work anyway, and that maybe any other medical issue other than an eating disorder may have been overlooked.
posted by C17H19NO3 at 4:49 PM on May 17, 2005


What is it about the US and rules?

I mean, I keep hearing these tales of "zero tolerance" and stories similar to the above, where it's obvious that some person or group of people is much more interested in adherence to the rule than the right action. Has the US legislated itself right out of teaching common sense?

I'm Canadian, and my dear wife is American. We occasionally butt heads on this, where she will say "but that's the law, so $whoever is wrong" and I will rebut with "the person is right, the law is wrong". She will acknowledge that the law is wrong, but the person should still follow it, simply because it's the law. It staggers me.
posted by Kickstart70 at 4:50 PM on May 17, 2005


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.

That's a very legitimate rule. They need to prevent any junior high student from a blue state from transferring in and taking the top honors.

Man, that was lame. Whoo, boy. Sorry, folks.

Anyway, you'd think they could have made an exception, or changed the rule to be more specific since she was in fact doing her classwork while she was in treatment. Maybe this school just loves bad press.
posted by gurple at 4:51 PM on May 17, 2005


I doubt they would have let her be valedictorian if she were in rehab for heroin addiction.

kickstart 70, I didn't say it was right but it is a clearly posted rule. Why have rules if they'll just override them whenever its convenient to do so?
posted by fenriq at 4:52 PM on May 17, 2005


Not that I'm denying the validity of this story, but sometimes I do find it strange that the only times I ever hear about these types of far out stories is in the media. Never in my life have I ever experienced, or known someone personally who has experienced these types of bizarre circumstances without there being a strong and fairly reasonable argument from the other side. Just a thought.
posted by Jase_B at 4:53 PM on May 17, 2005


fenriq, unless people override bad laws, the laws just stay put and hit the next poor sap down the road.

I'm no advocate of anarchy, but seriously...these things are just silly.
posted by Kickstart70 at 4:54 PM on May 17, 2005


I'm Canadian, and my dear wife is American. We occasionally butt heads on this, where she will say "but that's the law, so $whoever is wrong" and I will rebut with "the person is right, the law is wrong".

I don't think it's an "American" thing, although there are a lot of americans who seem to fetishize the law. Some people are that way and others are not.

As a counter point, look at that one school who decided to have multiple valedictorians because there was some contraversy over one of the candidates... then that candiate sued and won!

The bottom line is, if they had made an exception, you never would have heard about it.

---
posted by delmoi at 4:56 PM on May 17, 2005


I wonder how Blair Hornstine is doing these days? My bet is that she would advise this young lady against raising too much of a stink.
posted by ajr at 4:56 PM on May 17, 2005


sometimes I do find it strange that the only times I ever hear about these types of far out stories is in the media.

That's why it is in the media.
posted by C17H19NO3 at 4:57 PM on May 17, 2005


As far as I can tell, regardless of the reasons, this seems to be a side effect of of 'zero thought policies'. Again you put something down on paper and that paper becomes stone, you are now freed of all that pesky thought and analysis you had to do before. No more weighing pros and cons for you! All you decisions are made and you can conveniently hide behind the shield of 'well theres nothing I can do'.

Now for the moment ignoring the BS side of this, my wife (a teacher) and I have have arguments on this. Why is homework important? Why is physically being in class seem to be the high water mark of education? There is a reason why schools have exams, they are to assess comprehension. Is the goal of education to foster comprehension or not? What is the point of school? To get homework done? To warm the seat? Or to prove comprehension?
posted by MrLint at 4:57 PM on May 17, 2005


Quite frankly, I'm more disturbed by someone being so covetous of valedictorianism than by the rule itself. It's like the braniac elite corps version of a jock being upset that he didn't letter in his sport. Learn to slack, kids.
posted by jonmc at 4:59 PM on May 17, 2005


Umm, why are we listing home addresses and phone numbers? Could we maybe ease up on the outrage a teensy bit?
posted by iron chef morimoto at 4:59 PM on May 17, 2005


kickstart 70, no argument here. I agree its a stupid rule and it should be changed because the enforcement is keeping someone who deserves the title from getting it.

But, on the other hand, its not like they wrote the rules out in secret and never told anyone. They made them publicly available and, someone who wanted so badly to be valedictorian, should have had their shit together and not missed the deadline. Doesn't make it right and I think she should get her title but the fact remains that she either knew or should have known about the deadline.
posted by fenriq at 4:59 PM on May 17, 2005


This girl is pretty impressive -- she was the top performer at the school even though she knew at the start of her junior year that she was out of the running for the highest honors. I would have become a pothead. (Wait, is that what I did? I can't remember, man...)

The kid who finished #2 is saying all the right things in public, but you know he's pumping his fist in private.
posted by brain_drain at 5:00 PM on May 17, 2005


On the one hand, yeah the address is listed, but, that being the case, how about you let people who want to have the information access the information for themselves, huh whoshotwho?
posted by reflection at 5:02 PM on May 17, 2005


I wonder how Blair Hornstine is doing these days? My bet is that she would advise this young lady against raising too much of a stink.

The Blair Hornstine affair came to mind for me as well when I read the FPP article. (BTW - any news/updates on her since her denial of admission to Harvard?)
posted by ericb at 5:03 PM on May 17, 2005


jonmc:

It's an accomplishment, there's nothing wrong with being competitive about it. And, frankly, valedictorian looks pretty good on the paperwork for a scholarship. If I thought I deserved it, I'd want it pretty badly too.
posted by iron chef morimoto at 5:06 PM on May 17, 2005


The kid who finished #2 is saying all the right things in public, but you know he's pumping his fist in private.

I have to disagree with this statement. I'll give Alex Gorham the benefit of the doubt. I suspect he'd stand behind his words.
"Despite student petitions and pleas from students on the Top 10 list at Kingwood High, school officials said the title instead would go to the number two student, Alex Gorham. Gorham said the victory would be a hollow one for him and asked the school to reconsider."
posted by ericb at 5:07 PM on May 17, 2005


I can understand the girl's disappointment and frustration, but someone should explain to her that in the long run, valedictorian just doesn't matter. When you're applying for a job, they don't care if you were valedictorian, president of the Chess Club, or AV Captain. Maybe in a head-to-head race to get into certain universities they'll weigh your high school achievements and use that as a determining factor, but 10 years or so from now, when she's working on Wall Street, or in a surgical theater, or on a construction site, no one is going to give a hoot that she was the class valedictorian.
posted by Oriole Adams at 5:09 PM on May 17, 2005


Blair Hornstine, on the other hand, was clearly gaming the system and doesn't deserve shit so far as I'm concerned.
posted by iron chef morimoto at 5:09 PM on May 17, 2005


Also, I do have trouble sympathising with this girl. In order to be valedictorian you need to be, basicaly, perfict. And that means following all the rules set down in order to be valedictorian.

I mean it's not like their kicking her out or anything. And she can certanly tell people she was valedictorian if she wants to. No one is going care about the technicalities. And I'm sure she's already accepted to a collage.

On the other hand, there simply isn't any rational reason for denying her the title. Insipid legalism isn't helpfull to anyone.
posted by delmoi at 5:11 PM on May 17, 2005


She sure has recovered well from her anorexia... from the looks of it (having dated two anorexics myself).
posted by Witty at 5:16 PM on May 17, 2005


In some states, doesn't valedictorianship mean lots and lots of state money for college? I know that our valedictorian and a few others recieved a free ride through college. I would be mad if I were denied that, because I like money, yes I do.
posted by sian at 5:16 PM on May 17, 2005


I mean, I keep hearing these tales of "zero tolerance" and stories similar to the above, where it's obvious that some person or group of people is much more interested in adherence to the rule than the right action. Has the US legislated itself right out of teaching common sense?

In short, yes. That way we don't have to think, so we don't get headaches from the effort.
posted by c13 at 5:19 PM on May 17, 2005


It's an accomplishment, there's nothing wrong with being competitive about it.

I suppose so, but let's not pretend it's much more than a smart-kid version of the jockdom MeFite's like to mock so much, or a consideration of some hyper-ambitious kid who just has to get into an Ivy or she'll just die. Christ, you're 18, go do something dangerous and stupid.
posted by jonmc at 5:26 PM on May 17, 2005


The point of the rule (let's not pretend that an internal school policy has the force of a law enacted by Congress) is to avoid rewarding students who move into the district late in the four years of high school. That was why the rule was written and promulgated.

Therefore, the letter of the law is being upheld, but the spirit is being ignored. The school could have easily made an exception by ignoring the rule, but they chose not to. I feel sorry for the girl. What on earth is the school gaining by being obstinate on the issue?

I can understand the girl's disappointment and frustration, but someone should explain to her that in the long run, valedictorian just doesn't matter.

So what? Its a nice reward for someone who worked hard. After enough time, nothing really matters, but it is always worthwhile to reward people when they do good.
posted by Falconetti at 5:29 PM on May 17, 2005


She sure has recovered well from her anorexia... from the looks of it (having dated two anorexics myself).

This comment is strange on a couple of levels. And that's all I have to say about it.
posted by mr_roboto at 5:31 PM on May 17, 2005


She sure has recovered well from her anorexia... from the looks of it (having dated two anorexics myself).

Well, Witty, you must never have talked to them about their disorders or you would know how very common it is for anorexics to vacillate between anorexia and bulemia as well as experience large weight fluctuations during recovery. I haven't dated any, but am related to one.
posted by Falconetti at 5:33 PM on May 17, 2005


The point of the rule (let's not pretend that an internal school policy has the force of a law enacted by Congress) is to avoid rewarding students who move into the district late in the four years of high school.

The thing here is that she attended the school from the beginning, so shouldn't the rule not even apply here?
posted by C17H19NO3 at 5:33 PM on May 17, 2005


Schools have zero-tolerance rules because parents sue them. Having rules so black and white, while not exactly "fair", prevents annoying parents from teaching their kids how to weasel their way to the desired outcome when shit doesn't go their way.

Would that have happened if this rule were not in place in this situation? Probably not, but I can't say. If they rewrote or ignored the rule, would some jackhole parent totally take advantage of it? Most definitely.
posted by 23skidoo at 5:34 PM on May 17, 2005


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.

Through it all, she kept up her class work and stayed at the top of her class despite her illness.


Ms Scherr has already won something far more important than the valedictorian's role. Her parents have their priorities straight and so does she. I'd like to see her get the honour, but if not, it truly isn't a tragedy or even in the long run, that big a deal. It's certainly not worth a multi-million dollar lawsuit (hint, hint, Blair H.).
posted by orange swan at 5:42 PM on May 17, 2005


Falconetti - I made a mistake (which I was prepared to just let go since it doesn't really matter), they were both bulemic. Between the two of them, I spent 6 years with them. I am well aware of the horrors of bulemia. That being said, I'm just making an observation... that's all. She seems pretty "healthy" now.

on prevew: Good point 23skidoo.

If they rewrote or ignored the rule, would some jackhole parent totally take advantage of it? Most definitely.

And their names might likely be Mr. and Mrs. Gorham.
posted by Witty at 5:44 PM on May 17, 2005


Jase_B, I can attest to crap like this happening. I had a good friend in high school who had Crohn's disease and was in and out of the hospital semi-regularly. While he was in the hospital (around 2 weeks) he missed several tests. When he returned to school he had passed some arbitrary cutoff date on retaking tests. Most of his teachers worked with him and let him make things up as needed since he had a valid medical reason. However one teacher refused to let him make his test up. The test was worth a letter grade and he wound up with a B for the class. That B kept him from having a 4.0 gpa, which lost him his valedictorian status.

Jonmc, this wasn't just a ego thing for him, this cost him thousands of dollars in lost scholarships. And even knowing this, the school administration refused to change anything.
posted by meditative_zebra at 5:51 PM on May 17, 2005


Jonmc, this wasn't just a ego thing for him, this cost him thousands of dollars in lost scholarships

You could say the same about some star high school athlete, but would your symapathy be as strong then?

But, hey don't take me to serously, as one of the kids who spent high school skipping clas to get drunk/stoned in the woods, I feel a sweet does of schadenfruede whenever I see the overacheivers get screwed for a change.
posted by jonmc at 5:53 PM on May 17, 2005


[ajr and others: Blair Hornstine is at St Andrew's in Scotland]
posted by lumiere at 6:06 PM on May 17, 2005


golfing?
posted by matteo at 6:10 PM on May 17, 2005


drinking Macallan and eating haggis.
posted by jonmc at 6:11 PM on May 17, 2005


But, hey don't take me to serously, as one of the kids who spent high school skipping clas to get drunk/stoned in the woods, I feel a sweet does of schadenfruede whenever I see the overacheivers get screwed for a change.

It shows.

Also, there is a reason why those things are called SCHOLARships and not ATHLETEships.
posted by c13 at 6:12 PM on May 17, 2005


Hey, that was my high school! Go Mustangs! (Or not!)

It may be nice to have the title, but she's not going to be hurting for college choices or money if she doesn't get it. All of the top ten kids in my graduating class had scholarship offers worth close to if not over a hundred thousand dollars (I know because it was announced at the ceremony how much each one had pulled down, which I thought was rather tacky.) It's a well-regarded school and she'll have a free ride pretty much anywhere she wants to go.
posted by Cyrano at 6:13 PM on May 17, 2005


You could say the same about some star high school athlete, but would your symapathy be as strong then?

Not really, most of the athletes I knew were ignorant jackanapes. [/partial snark]

But it would still be just as unfair for them to lose an athletic scholarship as it would be for someone else to lose an academic scholarship because they violated some obscure beauracratic rule that some dickhead assistant school principal enforced at the expense of offering his own student a better shot at a collegiate education.

Athletes and valedictorians are probably equally as likely to have had to work to attain their talent as they are to have it be an innate and effortless gift. So in fairness, they would be equally screwed.

And as for the comeuppance on the overachievers: funny if they bring it upon themselves, sucks if they're getting shafted by the system.
posted by meditative_zebra at 6:15 PM on May 17, 2005


Jonmc, your comments are, once again, both entirely inappropriate and spot on accurate.

I agree with whoever it was who said it doesn't make a lick of difference whether or not you're valedictorian or not. I wasn't valedictorian. Hell, I barely graduated highschool. And now I'm a high-powered business person who regularly receives emails from Lucifer himself updating me on the status of his unholy global empire.

I am also very drunk.

From drinking very expensive beer.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 6:15 PM on May 17, 2005


It shows.

Perhaps. But I bet I had more fun than either the jocks or the study grinds. And I know from personal experience that plenty of overacheiver kids envy the living shit out of the waste product kids, retrospectively. C'mon, in your heart of hearts, would you rather be Paul Krugman or David Lee Roth?
posted by jonmc at 6:17 PM on May 17, 2005


Jonmc, your comments are, once again, both entirely inappropriate and spot on accurate.

Story of my (mefi) life, dude.

I am also very drunk.

From drinking very expensive beer.


Me too. I splurged and got Brooklyn Pennant Ale rather than Schlitz.

*cranks up "MMMBop" and dances around room in underwear*
posted by jonmc at 6:19 PM on May 17, 2005


1984 David Lee Roth or 2005 David Lee Roth?
posted by Cyrano at 6:20 PM on May 17, 2005


do you have to ask, brother Cyrano? And even 2004 Diamond Dave has some great shit to look back on, which is saying something.
posted by jonmc at 6:22 PM on May 17, 2005


jonmc:

If it was a sports injury keeping the athlete from attending school while she recuperated I'd be sympathetic. If the athelete missed the deadline because she was off at some sports camp I wouldn't be sympathetic. I suppose the distinction I make is based on how much the absence was in the control of the person. The young lady in question was hospitalized for valid reasons. This is more or less beyond her control, especially if she is a minor.

I'm sure if you worked hard enough you can come up with some sort of argument that claims the hospitalization was her choice|not obligatory|totally within her control. You're free to do so. I don't agree.
posted by cm at 6:24 PM on May 17, 2005


cm: I know. I'm just enjoying watching the the little overacheiver squirm and cry. Don't deny us burnouts our scahdenfreude.
posted by jonmc at 6:28 PM on May 17, 2005


hey c13, can't you spell overachievers?
posted by wilful at 6:32 PM on May 17, 2005


actually, that's me willful, and I can't spell for shit, even when I'm sober.
posted by jonmc at 6:35 PM on May 17, 2005


Metafilter: Would you rather be Paul Krugman or David Lee Roth?
posted by ericb at 6:41 PM on May 17, 2005


I'm sorry. I was overwhelmed.

Actually, I'm not so much worried that some overachiever is getting screwed as I am about what Kickstart70 has alluded to.
posted by c13 at 6:41 PM on May 17, 2005


it's ok, c13, just remember this two speeches from the greatest teen movie of all time:

"All I'm sayin' is that I want to look back and say that I played as hard as i could while i was stuck in this place, I did the best that i could while i was stuck in this place and I had as much fun as i could while i was stuck in this place. I boned as many chicks as I could while I was stuck in this place..."

"the older you get, the more rules they're gonna TRY to get you to follow...you just gotta keep living man. L-I-V-I-N'."
posted by jonmc at 6:48 PM on May 17, 2005


Well.. I can't really say I disagree.
posted by c13 at 6:52 PM on May 17, 2005


Cool.

*passes 40 and joint to c13*

wanna go to the awards banquet and try to do smart smart chicks?
posted by jonmc at 6:54 PM on May 17, 2005


Meh. Looks like she got over the anorexia.
posted by Doohickie at 7:09 PM on May 17, 2005


Meh. Looks like she got over the anorexia.

Meh. Looks like you have a long way to go for your stupidity.
posted by Falconetti at 7:35 PM on May 17, 2005


"Me too. I splurged and got Brooklyn Pennant Ale rather than Schlitz."

For acceptable beer, Brooklyn is dirt cheap, man. Especially since you're in NYC and they keep the prices low there to pretend they're not from Utica. I haven't had the pennant ale though - how is it?

Now some Dogfish Head World Wide Stout or Sam Adams Utopias, those are expensive beers. And at 18% and 25% ABV, you'll get very drunk too.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 7:51 PM on May 17, 2005


c13 & wilful: 4 down, 2 to go.
posted by obloquy at 8:13 PM on May 17, 2005


I haven't had the pennant ale though - how is it?

Prtty goood. Hopier than the ale, but surprisingly full-bodied, ad anything comemorating the 55 dodgrs is cool, by default.. When I want to get hammered for cheap I dink this 99 cent/1.6 pint bottle 9.5% alcohol beer from Lithuania. It tastes kinda rank, but at that level of potency, who cares?
posted by jonmc at 8:19 PM on May 17, 2005


NTM, if $8 a sixer is "cheap" to you, te salud, theOnly Cool Tim.
posted by jonmc at 8:22 PM on May 17, 2005


This really is very stupid. Valedictorian has a very specific meaning that's understood by all. This girl clearly deserves the title. Here the integrity of the academic title trumps the "detail" rules. If I was the #2 student I'd be extremely pissed. Receiving the distinction on such a silly technicality would be be very insulting. It'd be better if they didn't award the distinction at all then to just ignore the content of the title.

/valedictorian
posted by nixerman at 9:04 PM on May 17, 2005


i don't get the only in texas thing.

it's just the way it is sometimes. institutions require rules, and while there are times that we complain that some rules and their strict application are unreasonable, there are also times when we appreciate and benefit when rules are strictly applied. common sense isn't as common as we'd like to think.

in any case, she doesn't seem overly concerned about it and seems intelligent enough to rank it low on the universal scale of injustice and to move on with her life.

jeers to msnbc for tossing out this rather trivial story in its lazy and cynical pandering to the type of audience for which anti-bureaucratic indignation is like crack-laden candy. i could hear john stossel whining give me a break from paragraph one.
posted by troybob at 9:05 PM on May 17, 2005


I agree with what mr_roboto and falconetti said.

Snarky comments about her weight are especially insensitive folks...
Meh. Looks like she got over the anorexia.
She sure has recovered well from her anorexia... from the looks of it (having dated two anorexics myself).



Considering that perfectionism is often innately tied-in with Anorexia, I hope she is able to take the circumstances in stride, whether she gets valedictorian or not. In a way, perhaps it's better if she doesn't, and realizes how unimportant it is for her future employment.

I wish her well.
posted by Radio7 at 9:21 PM on May 17, 2005


I think the athelete comparison is apt. Imagine a track star who everyone knows is the fastest runner in the state, but who catches the flu or something and can't run in the state championships. It's certainly not his fault, but nobody would seriously consider giving him the title based on his past performance or any sort of make-up meet. It's competitive and elitist, and sometimes life just isn't fair.

All of us who went through high school are aware of how capricious grading can be anyway. Being valedictorian is largely a matter of jumping through arbitrary hoops more consistently than anyone else. It involves placing what is probably an unhealthy priority on doing so. Who knows how many silly little sacrifices seperated #1 from #2 in the first place? That's pretty much the name of the game, otherwise they'd just hand out valedictorian based on some comprehensive exam at the end of senior year.
posted by Bokononist at 10:13 PM on May 17, 2005


Bokononist, graduation isn't the state finals. A runner competes in the state finals, a class valedictorian has already done everything to be the valedictorian.

Actually, your exam at the end of the year would make your comparison more appropriate.
posted by fenriq at 11:17 PM on May 17, 2005


NTM, if $8 a sixer is "cheap" to you, te salud, theOnly Cool Tim.

I'm actually hella poor, I just like good beer. One time I had to eat a few meals of Ramen noodles because I found a new beer store. The cheapest I go without feeling a little shame inside is Yuengling. I pay $6-$10 for the Brooklyns, depending on the type. And the $10 is the Black Chocolate Stout which is delicious and in terms of getting drunk is 8.5%.

But yeah, you won't see me balking at an $8 sixpack. Except when there's a party and people send me on a beer run for some swill and the local 24 hour deli is selling 16 oz. Bud sixpacks for $10. That pisses me off, but at least it usually isn't my money.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 11:20 PM on May 17, 2005


i don't get the only in texas thing.

Me neither. I mean, no one in this story even came *close* to getting killed. Doesn't there have to be a contract put on the head cheerleader or a retarded man sentenced to death before one says "only in Texas"?
posted by 23skidoo at 11:36 PM on May 17, 2005


I think valedictorian was voted on in my highschool. We had gold and silver medals for the two students with the highest grade. One of the most prestigious awards was given to a student who excelled in the arts (it was an arts school), and was otherwise remarkable; a friend of mine won it one year, and there was a big speech about him - he had really high marks (highest of anyone not doing math), was in all sorts of shows and did all this in spite of a severe learning disability.

But valedictorian, I seem to recall, was voted on. Usually someone who did well, but not the necessarily the highest marks. Nor someone who was extremely popular - but rather someone who was very widely liked, and actually nice. I don't remember how the nomination system worked, though. (I left a year before my last year, thus missing the hoopla of graduation - I graduated at another school with a class of 5 people. We didn't have a valedictorian, but the teachers took us out to a nice restaurant for dinner.)
posted by jb at 11:53 PM on May 17, 2005


jonmc, I have to admit your comments on this thread kind of piss me off. You don't know this person. You know next to nothing about her. But the fact that she happens to get good grades reminds you that you happened to dislike some people who got good grades when you were in high school, so something bad happening to her gives you some kind of sense of petty revenge? Screw that. She might be out a lot of money she probably needs because of some idiotic bureaucratic bullshit, and that's wrong. I don't know and I don't care if she spent all of high school smoking up in the woods, drowning puppies, or studying until her eyes bled. Doesn't matter, and you don't even know anyway.

(Incidentally, by coincidence, I'm an ex-anorexic who got screwed out of being valedictorian - in a different way - although I decided not to make a fuss about it, and I didn't spend a god-damned day studying my ass off or acting like high-school was the be-all and end-all of my life. I had a good time and wasted as little of it as possible on school.)
posted by kyrademon at 12:17 AM on May 18, 2005


I think this is wonderful. The job of the school is to teach, and everyone is getting a wonderful lesson:

Authority is STUPID!

Its unfortunate for the girl, but she'll do okay anyway. They can have fun playing out their little drama and learning from that, too. But geez, doesn't anyone value the lesson on authority?
posted by Goofyy at 2:32 AM on May 18, 2005


Sometimes the holes in bad laws (rules) need to be made manifest so that good laws (rules) can come into existence. Perhaps it should be that students simply need to attend the school for say >80% of the school year to qualify rather than having an arbitrary cut-off date.
posted by peacay at 2:37 AM on May 18, 2005


Somehow, this thread is the first I've heard of Blair Hornstine. I'll resist going any more OT than to say that that girl is a piece of work.
posted by Bokononist at 3:36 AM on May 18, 2005


I think the athelete comparison is apt.

Well, you can think it, but you'd be wrong.

The article says she was able to keep up with her studies while absent. I don't know of too many track stars that are running the 100 meter while away in a hospital.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:00 AM on May 18, 2005


Perhaps it should be that students simply need to attend the school for say >80% of the school year to qualify rather than having an arbitrary cut-off date.

But that doesn't really address the reason the rule is there in the first place, which is to prevent senior year transfers for the sole purpose of grabbing a top ten spot. I think a more common sense solution would be to waive the cutoff date if the student had been at the school during the previous year (or maybe two.)
posted by Cyrano at 6:43 AM on May 18, 2005


Meh. Looks like you have a long way to go for your stupidity.
Snarky comments about her weight are especially insensitive folks...

Apparently I'm an insensitive cad. While my tone was flip, I was sincere in the meat of my remark-- this girl does not look, in the picture accompanying the article, like a girl who is starving herself to death. I didn't mean to imply that that she was overweight or anything like that, but she does look like she is battling the low weight thing pretty well. If observing that makes me an insensitive cad, then, by God, I'm an insensitive cad.

If I were her parent, I would probably pursue all avenues to get the school district to change their minds. I would probably work through the school board to try to change the rule to allow for some leeway. But I would also stress to my daughter that her intrinsic value is not tied to whether or not she makes valedic.

But as far as "why Americans are obsessed with rules", I think it comes from the fact that we are a litigious society. The intent of the law is not important as the letter of the law. This attitude seems to be accentuated by the current popularity of the conservative/fundamentalist mind set, which tends to be legalistic and see things as clear, black and white choices.
posted by Doohickie at 6:48 AM on May 18, 2005


In highschool, our valedictorian was caught stealing a student parking permit well after the "if you're a senior and you get in trouble, you don't get to graduate on stage" rule was enforced. He got to graduate on stage, as valedictorian, anyways irregardless of the rule. I was editor of the school paper at the time and wanted to do a big story on double standards, but was halted by The Man. I did some research anyways and while speaking to the runner-ups, I found it didn't make a whole lot of difference - they were still going to the colleges of their choice with really generous scholarship packages. So in the long run, it didn't make much difference, but in the short, I was pissed off that some folks can break the rules and get away with it while others couldn't.

And as for fancy beer... There's a big difference between "beer that is pricey" and "beer that is good." I find the Sam Adams stuff (Utopias, Millenium, and the various Bochs) to be much more the former than latter. My current brewer of choice is Smuttynose. Their IPA is great!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:02 AM on May 18, 2005


Falconetti: Therefore, the letter of the law is being upheld, but the spirit is being ignored. The school could have easily made an exception by ignoring the rule, but they chose not to. I feel sorry for the girl. What on earth is the school gaining by being obstinate on the issue?

Well they were avoiding being sued by #2. The district was screwed when the put in place such a specific rule with only a single test to pass. If they had added wording where the student had to have been in attendance for a certain number of days in the previous four years or in attendance on a specific date they would have been fine. As it stands one one hand they are being crucified for enforcing it and on the other their lawyer would have recommended enforcing it so as to avoid being sued.

In your case robocop is bleeding no one else was denied access to the stage. You rarely see anyone suing an authority because someone else wasn't punished if they have nothing to gain from the punishment.
posted by Mitheral at 7:47 AM on May 18, 2005


At my high school, valedictorian was voted on by the graduating class. Out of a pool of academically successful (though not necesarily top 5) & extra-curricularly involved students (some were sports stars, some where top music people, etc).
posted by raedyn at 8:03 AM on May 18, 2005


My high school was so afraid of this stuff that we didn't even HAVE a valedictorian. We had a top 10 students (as a group) and another honor for the top 10% (which was about 25 more more students in my grade, more like 40 in the few behind me).
posted by dagnyscott at 8:19 AM on May 18, 2005


I remember when I was growing up in Houston, Kingwood high school ousted another valedictorian in 1987. That time, it was because he hired a stripper for his graduation party.

Not related, but interesting.
posted by fungible at 8:26 AM on May 18, 2005


I feel bad for her. This stuff doesn't matter later in life, but to a high schooler, it's super important.
posted by agregoli at 8:51 AM on May 18, 2005


the valedictorian of my graduating class had a kid in her first year of the mediocre college she went to (couldn't break 1000 on her SATs) and is now a mother of two living with her parents. not that there is anything wrong with that.......just sayin.
posted by shminny at 8:53 AM on May 18, 2005


the valedictorian of my graduating class had a kid in her first year of the mediocre college she went to (couldn't break 1000 on her SATs) and is now a mother of two living with her parents (shes 24). not that there is anything wrong with that.......just sayin.
posted by shminny at 8:54 AM on May 18, 2005


Setting aside Cyrano's suggestion (which is a perfectly reasonable one and should be considered for future years), let me add a few points, as this is playing out daily in the Houston Chronicle:

This wasn't sprung on her at the last moment. Both sides acknowledge that during the hospitalization, the parents were reminded about this policy and urged to check out Miss Scherr overnight, so that she would be on campus for day 20 and meet the letter of the policy. They declined. So they've known this was coming for two years. If they wanted to complain, they had plenty of time before now.

I'm not suggesting that it was the wrong decision. Just that it was an informed one, and that the family knew what it meant when they made it, nearly two years ago. To protest now is disingenuous (in both the correct and incorrect usages of the word).

As a follow-up, the student is accepting the "honorary valedictorian" title the school district offered. So it's all moot now.
posted by parliboy at 8:56 AM on May 18, 2005


parliboy: i believe you meant to say "moo point", you know, like, a cow's opinion, it doesn't matter......?
posted by shminny at 8:58 AM on May 18, 2005


Um, who gives a shit? I cannot believe that this is citywide news, much less national.

Also, "honorary valedictorian?" As opposed to "power-wielding valedictorian?"
posted by LittleMissCranky at 1:31 PM on May 18, 2005


You know what? I missed valedictorian by .05 b/c the guy who won it cheated frequently, and I had a D- in art b/c the teacher didn't like that I had to miss one class a week due to a conflict.

You know what else? It didn't change a single thing. Or what robocop is bleeding said.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:15 PM on May 18, 2005


Well they were avoiding being sued by #2.

That is a good point which I overlooked, but considering #2 is on record saying she deserves valedictorian, the school still seems unreasonably obstinate.

Also, Doohickie, even if I didn't misinterpret your comment, I am admittedly oversensitive about eating disorder issues, so my apologies for being quick on the trigger to get pissy.
posted by Falconetti at 3:15 PM on May 18, 2005


Robocop is bleeding: There is no such word as irregardless. Never was, never will be, irregardless of public opinion.
posted by Sparx at 3:51 PM on May 18, 2005


Falconetti- It's okay; even if my point was not a snark, my manner was.... starting a post with "Meh." is not exactly polite, is it? And actually, I suppose maybe I am a little insensitive, having recently gone from obese to healthy normal.... there's nothing more insufferable than a "convert", is there?
posted by Doohickie at 4:00 PM on May 18, 2005


Looks like you have a long way to go for your stupidity.

"Wisdom is Ignorance, stupidity I call freedom!" -Paul Westerberg

I was sincere in the meat of my remark-- this girl does not look, in the picture accompanying the article, like a girl who is starving herself to death.


posted by jonmc at 4:36 PM on May 18, 2005


Well they were avoiding being sued by #2.

That is a good point which I overlooked, but considering #2 is on record saying she deserves valedictorian, the school still seems unreasonably obstinate.


Yes, but even if they aren't sued now, making an exception this time could be used against them in future lawsuits related to valedictorian status.
posted by dagnyscott at 6:13 PM on May 18, 2005


That shirt on the left should read "I <3 <3 Attacks"
posted by Doohickie at 4:48 AM on May 19, 2005


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