The C+ Chemistry Grade Lawsuit

Got a C+ in chemistry? Most people would tell you to try and study harder nex time, but not in this case: a high school student and his mom are suing the school district over a C+ grade he got last year.

And before you condemn them for being lawsuit-happy, read the story. They may have a case:

According to the formal complaint—acquired by Albany Patch after a reader's tip—the suit is centered on a C+ that [the chemistry teacher] Carlock gave [the student] Bethards when he was a sophomore in her chemistry class in 2010-11.

“Here’s the bottom line: This kid earned an A, by anybody’s standards,” said Bethards’s attorney, Daniel Horowitz.

Bethards, now a rising senior at Berkeley High, has dreamed for years of attending a prestigious pre-med program after high school and, according to the complaint, Carlock knew this.

In the complaint, Bethards says “Carlock was aware, at all relevant times, that a ‘C+’ in chemistry would effectively destroy plaintiff Bowen Bethards’ chances of being accepted to either of his two colleges of choice, as well as his chances of getting a scholarship to attend to the programs of his choice.”

Steven Lau of the AlbanyPatch has the story: Link (Photo: The Cougar Online)

Previously on Neatorama: The Valedictorian Lawsuit

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If the family's version of events is true, that teacher ought to be fired. It's bad enough the schools are filled with teenagers without the teachers also being petty dicks.
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I was not prepared to have much sympathy for the parents, until I read the article and comments.

Now I think their case has merit.

If this kind of thing has been going on for years as alleged in the comments, shame on the school district.
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While the events, if substantiated, are certainly deplorable, it's extreme hyperbole to suggest that a single bad grade destroys your chances of getting into a good school, or even a particular school. Nor will you be rejected from scholarships for a single bad grade. The only time that could make a difference is if ever other grade were perfect, and someone else ALSO was in that situation, such that it became a tie breaker. For college admissions and scholarships though, that's rarely how you would decide between two strong candidates. Their admissions essays and interviews would play into it far more at that point.

All that aside though, if a single bad grade is causing your child this much distress, you've raised them very poorly. I'm not saying they shouldn't fight for an accurate reflection of his work, but binding someone's identity and self worth so strongly to arbitrary measures like this is a recipe for an unhappy life. You should be upset that you were cheated, yes, but you shouldn't feel your life is falling apart over a single grade. Life is full of bad events and unfair miscarriages of justice. If you can't maintain a positive, hopeful outlook in the face of it, you're gonna have a really hard time.
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