Sanford, FL – What do you do when your son, whom you know to be a math “genius,” starts failing his class? The answer for one Florida family was “sue the district’s pants off!”
Heathrow lawyers Aimee and William Hefley are asking a judge to prohibit the Seminole County School Board and Seminole High Principal Connie Collins from bumping their son, Johnathan, down to an easier math class, reports the Orlando Sentinel.
Johnathan was a math whiz in the 8th grade, so when he started 9th he was placed in an honors Algebra 2 class designed to prepare students talented in math for contests. Johnathan isn’t doing to hot in the advanced course. In fact, he’s getting a D. So the principal decided to move him to an easier class.
But the Hefleys say that this is causing Jonathan emotional distress (more than failing?) by removing him from his “mathlete” friends.
According to the lawsuit, the school’s decision “will emotionally scar” him, remove him “from his trusted companions” and “irreparably damage … [his] psyche and reputation.”
Neither the school nor the Hefleys were willing to speak to the press about the lawsuit. Still, am email from the school attached to the suit shows that officials believed that moving Johnathan will help take pressure off him and help him start fresh with a new teacher.
Furthermore, the class he was transferred to is still an Algebra 2 honors course, so he’ll maintain the academic credit he had in the competition-oriented course.
School officials also said that they tried to set up tutoring for him, and offered to let him retake two key tests and throw out his quiz scores if he moved.
Per Principal Collins’ email:
“It seems that you want Mr. Vong [the course instructor] to put 90 percent of the class on an academic standstill while Jonathan catches up.” She argued that changing him to a different class would “help [Jonathan] find some relief from the stress that must be his as a result of this constant pressure.”
Still, the Hefleys argue that since their son was a mathlete in 8th grade, it makes no sense that he’s performing so poorly in the 9th.
A teacher from another school who also prepares students for mathlete competitions said that she’d never heard of such a lawsuit, but bemoaned that the Hefleys will ultimately get what they want.
“Usually the parent always wins the argument,” she said.
If their son is allowed to stay in the advanced class and still fails, well… maybe we’ll be able to write about a follow-up lawsuit in a few months time. Something like “your dumb math teacher made my genius kid fail, I want him fired” or something equally ridiculous.