Suing for Better Grades
This story requires us to go back in time a little bit. We’ll be heading all the way back to the simpler time of the early 2000s. Well, it was simple compared to today. Brian Delekta of Michigan finished his junior year in high school in 2002 ranked at the top of his class.
The Difference Between an A and an A+
However, he wasn’t happy with one of the grades he received. Good grades are certainly important, but he wanted to change his A to an A+ for the work-experience class he was taking. He was working as a paralegal in his mother’s office for the experience required by the St. Clair County intermediate school district.
Things get a little more complicated. Schools in Memphis will grade students on a 12-point scale, and the 12 equals an A+. However, the intermediate school district has an A as the highest grade. The Memphis High School change it to an A, rather than an A+. His mother said that he fulfilled the work program requirements and was a professional at work and should therefore be awarded an A+ although the intermediate school district did not have that grade—remember, their highest grade is an A.
The claim was that even though the system where he took the class doesn’t have any difference between A and A+ in their grades, he deserved to have the “+” added to it. The intermediate school district had thought about changing the policy to use the aforementioned 12-point scale that would allow for an A+, but the board ultimately voted against it. They knew that there was a potential pending lawsuit, but they did not let that sway their decision.
How Important is Being Valedictorian?
Delekta and his mother, who owns a legal firm, tried to block the report of class rankings until they settled the matter in court because if he were given an A+, it would mean that he would be the valedictorian of the class. The teen was obviously intelligent and doing well in school since he was ranked at the top of his class, so why was the A+ so important?
It was because he wanted to be valedictorian, and presumably, his mother wanted that, as well. Having this honor is a point of pride, and it can be used on resumes and help students get into better colleges. However, if his grades are already high, he likely did not need to have that extra help with a single A+. His grades were good enough for most schools.
Additionally, many colleges are looking beyond just the numbers. They want to learn more about the students’ extracurriculars and the volunteering they do. For a couple of decades now, colleges have been looking at ways to get well-rounded students. Having a high-profile lawsuit that got national attention may not have been the best course of action, so it is not something that’s recommended for everyone.
However, it did not seem to have hurt Mr. Delekta, as he is now an attorney in Memphis, Michigan. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from the Michigan State University of Law in 2009.
The Push for Grades
Students and most parents will probably agree that there is a lot of pressure foisted on kids who are in school. They are stressed about getting good grades and getting into a good college, so they can get a good job. It’s a lot of pressure to deal with, and it’s easy to see why the world of academics can devolve into fighting with the school board and suing over an A+.