Law & Courts

Teacher Sues Over Disallowed F’s

By Elizabeth Rich — May 04, 2010 1 min read
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A 4th grade teacher from East Baton Rouge, La., is suing her principal, superintendent, and school board because she claims she was prohibited from assigning failing grades to students “under any circumstances,” according to Courthouse News Service.

Sue Goudreau says that at a meeting of 4th grade teachers at Riveroaks Elementary School, Principal Sholanda Shamlin, “adamantly directed ... teachers to assign a D to students who were definitely not going to pass 4th grade and not to fail a student who has even the slightest chance of passing [the state test].” The district’s policy had been to give a student an F if he or she earned fewer than 69 points.

Goudreau, a teacher of 20 years, went along with the directive even though she disagreed with it; however, she maintained a grade book where she posted students’ actual grades, in spite of being told not to. Goudreau’s anxiety was so great that she says suffered “constant fear of being written up for insubordination or other baseless reasons.” She lost 30 pounds and, according to her cardiologist, developed a serious heart condition.

Goudreau accuses Shamlin of telling her “to shut up and not open her mouth again” during an open meeting of 4th grade teachers. She also accuses the principal of “charging” into her classroom and berating her in front of her students “for no rational reason.” When Goudreau told Shamlin that she violated state law, Goudreau claims Shamlin retaliated by “harassing and threatening her.”

Goudreau claims the superintendent and school board looked the other way in spite of knowing about Shamlin’s illegal grading policy.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.