At a Chicago middle school, eighth graders in the gifted class didn’t like the T-shirt design selected by vote, so they ordered an alternate design and added their nickname, “gifties,” to the shirt. That label got them in trouble with the principal, reports the Chicago Tribune. Now parents are suing.
(Principal Chris) Kotis told them that no one could wear that shirt because it was not the “official” one and that there would be “serious consequences” if anyone did, the suit said.
The students came up with a petition supporting their T-shirt, the suit said. But Kotis insisted that he was concerned about their “safety” if they wore the shirt to school, the suit said.
On April 1, all 27 8th graders in the gifted program wore the shirt to school, the suit said.
It’s clear what the serious consequences amounted to — they were “confined” for a day? — but the lawsuit is asking that the incident not appear on students’ records. I’d think the principal would want to forget about it too.
When my daughter was in fourth grade, her teacher said she’d been identified as “gifted” in reading and math, but she wasn’t to tell anyone about it for fear of lowering her classmates’ self-esteem. He slipped her a “gifted” book (Tuck Everlasting) to read. That was the sum total of the gifted program in fourth grade.
No Child Left Behind forces schools to focus on low-achieving students, which means less attention and money for high achievers. This story focuses on high-IQ, low-income, minority students but most of those losing out are middle-class whites and Asians.
The law also encourages schools to hang on to their high-scoring students. Ohio is playing a dubious game, assigning gifted students’ scores to the schools they left.