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February 23, 2005

Administrators out of their league

There's a reason some student are called gifted and talented. Being a former G&T student, I was very amused at the following story.

Back in 2003 Beaubien Elementary School decided to let the students design a t-shirt. The students liked one idea a lot: The name "Gifties" written on the back and a caricature of a boy walking a dog on the front. But the “powers that be” didn't like the design and kept the election results secret, telling students to take another vote.

The students, who were in the gifted program, challenged the election and asked the school to disclose the results. Students and parents said they didn't get anywhere, so students decided to wear the "Gifties" design they believed won.

Though students were asked not to wear the design to school, they wore the shirts anyway in protest.

The principal, apparently woefully ignorant of even the most basic Constitutional rights, responded by threatening to suspend them for five to seven days.

The students say Kotis confined them to their classrooms and denied them access to different parts of the school. Administrators wouldn't allow them to use the bathroom unless they removed the shirts, according to the students.

At one point, they were forced to write an essay describing whether they felt worthy of using the computer lab, the lawsuit says. Later, the school allegedly threatened disciplinary action against any student who signed a petition supporting the T-shirt.

Remember these are the students designated gifted and talented. Remember the old saying, “Those who can, do; those who can't, teach” -- well the teachers and administrators learned this the hard way. Those students, now high-schoolers, have filed suit.

Last week, U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve gave their case steam by certifying the students as a different kind of class -- the kind that can legally seek damages by attaining class action status.

Attorneys for the Chicago Board of Education will now have to decide whether to settle out of court, or face the students in court.

[chuckle]

Posted by Jack Lewis at February 23, 2005 09:45 AM

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