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BISD seeking hearing in response to lawsuit over Central salutatorian
BEAUMONT - The Beaumont school district is seeking an expedited hearing in response to a lawsuit claiming a district administrator "manipulated the academic rating of students" in order to prevent one student from becoming salutatorian, and a judge's Temporary Restraining Order that won't allow Central Medical Magnet High School to name a salutatorian in time for Saturday's graduation.
Houston attorney Larry Watts filed the lawsuit this week on behalf of C'Brionne Hendrix. The lawsuit claims Assistant Superintendent Patricia Lambert, who was formerly principal at Central Medical Magnet High School, "manipulated the academic rating of students to help make students become ranked ahead of Plaintiff in the graduating class of 2013 at Central."
The lawsuit claims the class rank of Salutatorian makes a student eligible to receive scholarships reportedly valued at more than $400,000.
BISD attorney Melody Chappell spoke with KFDM News about the lawsuit. She's seeking an expedited hearing in Judge Gary Sanderson's court prior to Saturday's graduation. As it stands now, the hearing is scheduled for June 18.
"It's our position that it's not fair to that child who's worked hard for that rank," Chappell told KFDM News. We'd like the judge to at least hear evidence before he denies the child something that's meaningful in her life. To enter an injunction without a hearing isn't fair. It's about the honor, not scholarships. The rank of Salutatorian doesn't offer more scholarships that I know of. Students usually don't learn their ranking until around May. It's not early enough to compete for scholarships based on a ranking of Valedictorian or Salutatorian."
KFDM contacted the district to seek a comment from Patricia Lambert. We're waiting for a response.