Parents Sue RWC School Over Son's Dismissal

Sophomore was kicked out of English class for cheating on homework

By Kellie White
|  Thursday, Apr 26, 2012  |  Updated 6:20 PM PDT
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The parents of a sophomore at Sequoia High School in Redwood City are suing the school district, because their son was kicked out of an honors English class for cheating.

The parents of a sophomore at Sequoia High School in Redwood City are suing the school district, because their son was kicked out of an honors English class for cheating.

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The parents of a sophomore at Sequoia High School in Redwood City are suing the school district, because their son was kicked out of an honors English class for cheating.

According to the Palo Alto Daily News, the boy's parents claim his due process rights were violated. They filed suit against the school district and the high school on April 18th.

School administrators say the teen was removed from his honors English class for copying a classmate's homework. That classmate was also removed.

The sophomore, along with his mother, signed an "Academic Honesty Pledge" at the beginning of the school year that says cheating is grounds for dismissal from the advanced-level program. But the lawsuit points out that another school document states that students will only be removed from the program after a second offense.

Administrators acknowledge the "two-strikes policy," but say it's old and should have been updated. The superintendent said in a letter to the teen's father that the signed pledge states that any incident of cheating or plagiarism will result in the student's removal from the program.

The boy's parents say the punishment doesn't fit the crime, and they've offered several alternative penalties, like having their son work as an after-school teacher's assistant for the rest of the year, while still being allowed  to remain in the class.

The lawsuit claims several school officials told them they did not have the right to appeal the decision, and denied a request by the family to have the school board review the incident.

A hearing on a preliminary injunction to keep the punishment from being applied is set for May 17th.

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