No matter what, Blair Hornstine will be valedictorian of Moorestown High in New Jersey. She will go on to Harvard — or Stanford, Princeton, Duke or Cornell. If the high school names a couple of co-valedictorians — straight-A students who didn’t get the chance to earn weighted grades in all their classes — Hornstine will suffer no harm. So why is the judge’s daughter dishonoring herself by sueing for $2.9 million?
This week, a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order barring Moorestown officials from naming co-valedictorians, reports the Los Angeles Times.
Court papers filed on Hornstine’s behalf said that in November, School Supt. Paul J. Kadri and other school administrators met with Hornstine’s parents at the latter’s request to discuss concerns about her medical condition and course load. The conference led to an independent review by the school’s physician who concluded that a “reduction in course load is medically appropriate due to her exhaustion and overextending herself.”
The suit charged that Kadri suggested that Hornstine drop all advanced placement courses and take a standard curriculum. “This suggested approach would have drastically reduced plaintiff’s weighted grade point average and jeopardized her admission to selected colleges,” the suit said. It labeled the proposal a “malicious and intentional act” designed to reduce Hornstine’s chances for academic success.
The girl is supposed to have a sort of chronic fatigue syndrome, yet she’s taking a killer courseload plus allegedly running a community service project, and competing in Mock Trial. (She made the five-day class trip to Disney World too.) Maybe urging her to cut back was an act of kindness, an attempt to save an exhausted girl from her parents’ driving ambition.
(School officials) say that the student’s father, New Jersey Superior Court Judge Louis Hornstine, told Kadri during a meeting that he would “use any advantage of the laws and regulations” to give his daughter “the best opportunity to be valedictorian.”
“In the end, he flatly told the superintendent that he was going to manipulate rules designed to protect disabled students for the purpose of allowing plaintiff to win the valedictorian award,” the papers said.
. . . Court papers said Kadri also discovered occasions that when it appeared Hornstine would be unable to earn a high grade while enrolled in a difficult class in school, she withdrew and sought home instruction. Kadri found that some teachers in school had tougher grading standards than Hornstine’s tutors, most of whom had not taught advanced placement classes and did not confer with teachers at the school about implementing the same grading standards.
Anonymous classmates posting in Kim Swygert’s comments section say Hornstine is a spoiled brat whose parents trumped up a fatigue disability so Blair could avoid tough teachers and earn inflated grades from private tutors. There are more anonymous Moorestown comments — cry baby comes up a lot — on Unlearned Hand. One poster asks why Hornstine was the only AP Latin student to earn an A+ but got the lowest score in the national Latin exam. Another wants to know why the AP physics teacher, who never saw any of Hornstine’s work, was told to give her an A+ by the home tutor.
Hornstine got 1570 on the SATs. She’s no dummy. But does she have the character that Harvard wants in its students? A petition asks Harvard to withdraw admission on grounds Blair is a self-centered whiner. She’ll probably sue if Harvard doesn’t take her — and if it does.