It's hard to believe the runaround endured by the parents of a Jay High School student trying to correct what they believed to be a grading mistake.
According to Dean and Pamela Couture, their son had an 85 percent average in history last May when they checked his grades online. Many schools now encourage parents to monitor their student's progress on a secure Web site.
But, when report cards arrived, parents and son were surprised to find his 85 had become a 65, meaning he had gone from a low B to failing the class, all in a matter of weeks.
The Coutures are the sort of parents school teachers and school districts encourage; they put academics first and clearly care about their son's performance.
When the Coutures saw the discrepancy, they talked to a school secretary about it and were told it would be straightened out in the fall.
But when school resumed in the fall, they heard nothing from the high school, so they approached a guidance counselor who told them they should have addressed the issue in the spring. By this time, the computer records in question had been erased to make way for new software.
So, the Coutures took their complaint to the board. Superintendent Robert Wall contacted the student teacher who had taught the class, who confirmed the grade had been an 85 in May.
However, the supervising teacher would not change the grade. In Maine, it was explained, only a teacher can do so. The teacher in question was informed of the school board meeting to discuss the issue, but did not attend.
Since the online grading system was not backed up, the Coutures were left with no hard evidence to support their case ... except this: Their son had earned recognition as a scholar-athlete during the spring. If he had failed the history class, he would not have been eligible for that honor.
The Coutures say their son has been on the honor roll throughout his school years, and failing a class would have been out of character for him. And, they say, the incident has forced their son out of contention for a top-10 rank at graduation.
The family went to the school board last week simply asking that the online grading system be backed up to avoid something like this from happening to another student. And, now, it apparently will be.
Still, the district owes the family an apology for not getting to the bottom of this complaint in an effective, timely fashion.