Graduation denied to high school senior

Wednesday, May 21st 2008, 7:51 pm
By: News 9

By Jacqueline Sit, NEWS 9

A high school honor student has made the grades. But, she won't be graduating this weekend.

Michelle Ellington is what some call your 'cream of the crop' student. She's vice president of her class, a straight A student with a 3.9 grade point average, but despite all this she won't be graduating.

It's a fact that's taken an emotional toll on this high school senior.

"I feel like I'm going to be the only one in my family that won't graduate; it just seems like I let everybody down," Ellington said.

Bridge Creek Schools Superintendent Randy Davenport said a student can only have 14 absences per semester.

Ellington has 15 and a board of teachers and counselors voted to not allow her to graduate.

"As you cross the 14th and hit the 15th credit, you receive no credit for that particular class and it's based on a per class basis," Davenport said. "It's not across the board unless you reach that many in each class."

Ellington said she stood before the panel earlier this week, not able to divulge her reasons for missing class, reasons that are very personal.

"I told them the circumstances, the ones I really wanted to share in front of all those people and I guess it just wasn't good enough," Ellington said.

"The system is flawed. I don't think there's any question about that," Ellington's brother-in-law, Ken Templeton said.

Templeton said he understands the school policy but is making a plea for the school to rethink its decision.

"I think that had they allowed her an opportunity to sit down individually with some of her teachers that she knows and she is comfortable with and explain her circumstances to them that the vote may have come out different," Templeton said.

For now, the aspiring medical school student is planning on getting her GED, but wearing that cap and gown she's always dreamed of, is no more.

"I just think it should be in consideration how a student's academic level is," Ellington said. "I could understand if I didn't have good grades and was on the verge of failing, but I'm not."

Ellington has thought about going before the school board to appeal, but their next meeting will be in June.