Do not assign Valedictorian Honors based on a student's skin color
  • Petitioned School Board MHS & Student "B's" attorney

This petition was delivered to:

School Board MHS & Student "B's" attorney

Do not assign Valedictorian Honors based on a student's skin color

    1. Petition by

      D Mason

      Hot Springs, AR

PLEASE HELP PROTECT A HARDWORKING STUDENT FROM BEING DEPRIVED OF HER RIGHT TO HOLD VALEDICTORIAN TITLE OF HER CLASS SIMPLY BECAUSE OF THE COLOR OF HER SKIN.

There have been other petitions recently about disagreements in who should hold Valedictorian Honors that have received great support from you all at Change.org.  I am hoping that you will take the time to support another student who needs your help!

A female student has worked hard to overcome great personal hardship and graduate as one of her school's Valedictorians with a GPA of 4.0909. Unfortunately, another student with the same GPA of 4.0909 wants to take away the honor she worked so hard to earn.  We will call the girl who is in danger of losing her Valedictorian honor Student "A" in order to protect her privacy and call the other, Student "B".

Student "A" has worked tirelessly to graduate with the honor of Valedictorian. She is a member of the National Honor Society where she serves as President, Beta Club where she serves as Vice President, Future Teachers of America, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and Gifted and Talented.  "A" is a member of her high school softball team where she serves as Co-Captain.  She has also served on the EAST Lab Conference Team, Safe Prom Committee, Relay for Life Committee and Annual Staff where she serves as Co-Editor.

Student A is also the Senior Class President. She was a Sophomore Server and was on the Junior Prom Construction Crew. She was chosen as a Girl’s State Delegate and held multiple offices. She also served as an All-American and All-Star Cheerleader as well as scoring superior in the National Piano Guild Auditions.  She is a talented musician and singer and shares her talents in her local Baptist Church where she also serves on the Drama and Praise teams, devoting many hours on a volunteer basis. 

Student A was nominated for Who’s Who Among American High School Students and People to People Leadership program. She has been a Wise Owl and Scholar Athlete. She was All-Conference and All-State honorable mention in softball and chose to play in the Softball Junior Classic her junior year. She was awarded the Tereze Harris Math Award and was a runner-up in the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival Competition. She has also been awarded various other softball and academic awards. She was awarded the Wendy’s High School Heisman at the local level and is in the Governor’s Scholars Program. "A" plans to attend Ouachita Baptist University and major in Biology and Chemistry.

During her Junior Year, "A" had to have a very intensive, invasive surgical operation in order to correct a birth defect.  For SIX WEEKS she ate only liquid nutrients thru a straw or medicine dropper.  She managed to finish her Junior Year with a PERFECT 4.0 GPA in spite of her operation and she was even taking TWO Advanced Placement classes at that time!

Student "B" has worked hard as well.  She serves as a member of Beta Club and the Future Business Leaders of America.  She was on Student Council where she served as Secretary, National Honor Society where she served as Treasurer, Future Teachers of America, MHS Cheerleader, and annual Staff.  "B" has received awards for ACT Council, Wise Owl, Honor Roll, Rotary Youth Leadership, and the Tereze Harris Math award and scholarship. She was selected for Who’s Who Among High School Students and Girl’s State Delegate. She was a semi-finalist for the Gates Millennium Scholars Program and the Jackie Robinson Scholars Program.  Student "B" is planning to attend the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff where she made the Chancellor’s List and plans the major in Bio-Medicine.”

Now student "B" only earned 28.5 credits with a cumulative GPA of 4.0909.  If "B" had taken another regular or extra-curricular course and had made an 'A' in it, then she would have earned a GPA of 4.0893 just as Student "A" did.  Since "B" did not take an extra class, the school policy clearly states that Student "A's" extra-curricular class is to be removed from the final GPA calculations so that it does not count against her as the school board had promised since 2006.  This allows both girl's GPA to be fairly and equally calculated for Valedictorian.  There have been co-Valedictorians named several times in previous years using this formula and there has never been an issue with it until now.

********To summarize the situation********

In 2006, the school created a policy all students must meet in order to graduate with honors.  This policy has been clearly stated in the handbook since that time and is freely available to every student, teacher, and parent in the district.  In 2006 the school began offering 'weighted' Advanced Placement classes worth '5' points for each credit hour along with the regular classes which are valued at '4' points for each credit hour.  The purpose of offering weighted AP classes is to keep students who take all 'regular' classes, along with extra-curricular classes (worth only 1/2 credit per TWO semesters) from being able to 'coast' thru High School and earn Valedictorian Honors along with students who put forth the extra work to take AP classes.  Since the 'regular' classes cannot be used to help a student earn Valedictorian, the school policy plainly states that regular and extra-curricular classes taken by a student cannot be used against them either. Since taking extra non-weighted classes actually LOWERS a student's GPA (even if they make an A in the class) when they are calculated with weighted AP classes, all students will be scored on the same number of credit hours in the same type of classes, therefore dropping the 'extras'.   This allows students to take extra regular courses above the minimum 23 hours and promises them that they will NOT be penalized for it.

School policy clearly states "The final senior ranking will be figured at the end of the school year. If two or more students take the same or equivalent course work and receive the same grades of A, a student with a greater number of courses will not be penalized.” 

Student "A" earned 29 credits and at graduation had a cumulative GPA of 4.0893.  This includes an Advanced Music class which she earned an 'A' in. Unfortunately, this class was not a  'weighted' course and therefore was only worth 1/2 credit for a full year.  If "A" had not taken the music class her GPA would have been 4.0909. Since Student "B" only earned 28.5 credits then, as policy dictates, "A's" extra 1/2 credit Music class was removed from final GPA calculations.  Since both students had the exact same GPA, they were both rightfully named as Co-Valedictorians.  They both are able to make speeches at graduation as well as apply for scholarships using the Valedictorian titles.  However, "B" is demanding the school board publicly strip "A" of the honors she has worked so diligently to earn due to the fact that "A" is a different race.  Student "A" is supposed to be academically protected under the school policy that is clearly spelled out in her school's handbook but "B" is demanding "A's" rights be denied.

PLEASE help BOTH students to keep the Valedictorian Honor they both earned and sign this petition that will be sent to the school board.  This petition is about equality and fairness for two girls who both worked hard and who BOTH deserve the honor of Valedictorian. 

Also, by signing this petition, you will be telling the School Board, along with the Judge & Jury who will hear this case IF it goes to trial, that Student "B" does NOT deserve the minimum of $75,000 she is suing the school district for.  Student "B" felt she was damaged so greatly by having to share the Valedictorian honor that, along with publicly being named 'sole' Valedictorian,  she also deserves to be paid at least $75,000 (she's can ask the Jury to award her more) which will be taken from the school district budget and the students, parents, and teachers who live and pay taxes in this district. This means at least $75,000 plus court costs and attorney's fees if "B" wins that cannot be spent on textbooks, school buses, free lunches, after school tutoring programs, or even teacher salaries/new hires.   

The school board will be forced to make a decision on this soon so please forward the link to this petition to all your friends and family.  Thank you for your time and your signature!

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Reached 250 signatures
    2. According to school administration BOTH students will keep Valedictorian!

      D Mason
      by D Mason
      Petition Organizer

      That does not mean that we can stop supporting Student A however, because there is still the threat of a lawsuit by student b who does not want to have to share this honor. The lawsuit by student b will also ask for a minimum of $75,000 which is incomprehensible considering that there was no wrongdoing by the school or Student A. Please continue to spread the word so the TRUTH is out there and we continue to support Student A!

    3. Reached 100 signatures
    4. We're up to 54 signatures! Keep spreading the link to show people the TRUTH

      D Mason
      by D Mason
      Petition Organizer

      It has not been easy since no media outlets will report the truth but as word gets out the support is coming in. You can also gather signatures locally then forward names and addresses to me so I can add them to the petition. Thanks to all!

    5. Reached 50 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • J W SACRAMENTO, CA
      • over 2 years ago
      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Anne Taylor GAWLER, AUSTRALIA
      • almost 3 years ago

      We are all One.

      When one is harmed, all are harmed.

      When one is helped, all are helped.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Justin Smith STANFORD, CA
      • almost 3 years ago

      If this is all true its silly that someone is making a big deal out of this. My high school had more than one Valedictorian and 5 salutatorians. WTF

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Trey Owen CHARLOTTE, NC
      • almost 3 years ago

      This really hit me hard and made me quickly realize there are nearly always more than one side to the story. I was just about to sign the other petition to give the title solely to Student B, then I read the comments and saw the link to this petition. It seems pretty clear that based on precedent AND the school district's policies and procedures, that BOTH students deserve the title.

      It takes nothing away from the other for both of them to be Valedictorian. I finished graduate school Summa Cum Laude and understand the value these accomplishments have in life. Giving the title to both students recognizes that both students are exceptional.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • martin leon DALLAS, TX
      • almost 3 years ago

      Rhonda Anderson.. well said, the black student should be ashamed for calling discrimination. She should be the one stripped of her Valedictorian Honor..

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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