District 3: Valedictorian lawsuit without merit

by | August 4, 2017 6:51 am

Last Updated: August 1, 2017 at 2:41 pm

Clarendon School District 3 officials sued in Clarendon County common pleas court last month over an issue with the Class of 2016’s rightful valedictorian have denied any wrongdoing in the incident.
In an answer filed July 21, Clarendon School District 3 attorneys White and Story of Columbia deny all claims by plaintiff Flury Wilson that she was denied her rightful place as sole valedictorian for the Class of 2016 at East Clarendon High School.
Wilson, who graduated June 3, 2016, filed the suit in June against the school board, Superintendent Connie Dennis and East Clarendon High School Principal Jason Cook and Guidance Counselor Sharon DuRant, accusing the defendants of wrongfully labeling Wilson as the co-valedictorian of her graduating class and marking her placement as No. 2 in the class on her permanent records.
Current paperwork filed in the case, however, lists only Clarendon School District 3 as a whole as the defendant.
Wilson alleged that she held the No. 1 ranking in her class prior to May 26, 2017, “based on her academic performance and accomplishment of earning the top grades for the respective school year and grading periods.”
However, Wilson was informed May 27, 2016, that her class ranking had changed from No. 1 to No. 2, “without any proper justification given,” her suit alleges.
In their response, district officials denied Wilson’s account i its entirety, admitting only that she was listed as valedictorian in the Class Day program on May 26, 2016, and that she received notice the next day that she was ranked No. 2 and that she and another student would serve as joint valedictorians at the Commencement Ceremony on June 3.
Wilson likewise alleged that “the defendants allowed the improper grade submissions of a known student, specifically the student now holding the No. 1 ranking, which altered the ranking of the plaintiff all in a grossly negligent manner and intentionally and conscious failure to safe guard the academic achievement and class ranking of the plaintiff.”
Again, the district denied such actions, saying that “facts were brought to the attention of district officials that required additional calculation of student grades.” The district also denied Wilson’s assertion that she and her family asked for an investigation into a “possibly illegal” grade change and adjustment of class ranking.
“The District admits only that the plaintiff contested the class ranking,” the reply from the district reads.
Wilson’s suit further alleges that “grossly negligent record keeping” on the part of the high school led to the errors.
“Even after the 2015-16 school year ended, the plaintiffs sought proper resolution from the defendants as to the plaintiff’s class ranking and sought to restore her to the correct and proper position she has earned based on her academic record,” reads the complaint against the district. “As a result, the plaintiffs have been damaged due to the grossly negligent actions of the defendants, and due to the intentional and conscious failure to investigate the plaintiff’s class ranking and the acceptance of the submission of grades by another student after the deadline to submit grades for the purpose of GPA calculations and due to the defendants failure to return her to the No. 1 position she rightfully earned over the course of her grading periods in her high school academic career.”
The district, however, took umbrage with such language, saying that it admitted only “that the plaintiffs continued to request the district alter Wilson’s transcript after the 2015-16 school year.”
The student who held the co-valedictorian ranking with Wilson is not named in the suit, in which the plaintiff is represented by Sumter attorney Garryl Deas.
Andrea White, the attorney retained to represent the defendants in this case, said that “this is an unfortunate situation, but the district believes it acted properly.”
“The district believes it handled the situation involving the determination of the valedictorian for the 2015-16 school year properly and that no district policy or state law or Department of Education regulations were violated,” she said.

comments » 8

  1. Comment by Dan Geddings

    August 4, 2017 at 13:54

    wa, wa, wa

  2. Comment by Cry Baby

    August 5, 2017 at 13:44

    There are so much more things to be mad about. Take your privileged butt back home and worry about your free college education that you start in a few weeks. People believe that things should be owed to them when facts are facts. If your grades didn’t actually show you earned the spot then thats your problem.

  3. Comment by Seriously

    August 5, 2017 at 18:36

    This girl was not head Marshall junior year which means she was already ranked 2nd. The other girl wondered why she suddenly dropped to number 2 and found out grades were left off and then they were corrected. I don’t see where the issue is besides they are trying to get her a spot that she didn’t hold going into senior year anyway. errors occur.

  4. Comment by Ticked off Taxpayer

    August 5, 2017 at 21:19

    The money that is being spent to defend the baseless allegations could have been spent on other students education. It is a crying shame that because of one student and family that cannot accept that she didn’t EARN Valedictorian other students and ultimately tax payers will suffer.

    If the district did anything wrong, it was being gracious to GIVE her the Co-Valedictorian title. Last time I checked, that title was called Salutatorian!! I honestly cannot see any damage being ranked No 2. College acceptance letters had already been sent out nor was financial aid affected. It WOULD have been illegal, and grossly negligent if the district had kept her ranking as No. 1.

    First lesson of the real, grown-up world…You don’t and won’t always get your way. Take off the training pants and put on your big girl panties, enjoy your free college education, get a job, and give back to those less fortunate.

    Too bad it’s not possible for the rising K-12 students and taxpayers to sue the Plaintiff and family for the lost funds to defend this craziness!!

  5. Comment by Malcolm X

    August 6, 2017 at 03:35

    “A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything.”

  6. Comment by truth

    August 6, 2017 at 07:19

    I find the comments regarding this situation appalling. It’s well known by all in that community favoritism is king. It’s not just hard work that counts there. It is also who you know. It’s shameful that this is where they are now. Fighting out in court over something that should have been handled appropriately within the district office. I’m sure certain bored members felt it best to sweep the entire situation under the rug and act as if nothing had transpired. (Also common place) After all, she is just a kid with no real voice to speak of right? Poor judgement once again on their part. As a former Clarendon 3 parent, I’m quite glad to see someone has finally found a way to bring the continued misbehavior of the district administration and school board to light. It’s long overdue. I feel certain I know many parents and staff members in both schools who feel the same.

    So next time…. before you go throwing negative comments at a young woman who is rightfully claiming her place as she sees fit, ask yourselves this…

    If her case is truly without merit, why did the district make her Co-Validictorian instead of Salutatorian? After all, that is the rightful title of a student who has a second in class ranking.

    Honey! I hope and pray you win! Not just for yourself but for every student and staff member at EC! It will be a win for everyone!

  7. Comment by @ Truth

    August 6, 2017 at 16:21

    The reason they gave her the Co-Valedictorian, because every time things don’t go there way, they want to sue the school. She didn’t make cheerleader one year and she though up law suit. Guess what, after that she was a cheerleader.

    It would have been so wrong to swap this under the rug and not give the true Valedictorian her spot, that she worked so had for too. The students don’t submit there own grades. Two classes were over looked and no one is perfect.

    This has nothing to do with who you know, or who you are!!! If you HATE EC this bad you need to get out of Clarendon 3.

  8. Comment by Confused

    August 8, 2017 at 23:50

    The title of this news article confuses me, “District 3: Valedictorian Lawsuit Without Merit”. By whom, an opinion of the school district’s attorney? This is such a subjective and misleading title.

    I would be willing to question the character of some of the individuals making these comments instead of the issue at hand.


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