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Texas School District Punishes Students Who Take Dual College Courses

Abraham Parada had a 4.818 grade point average. His official transcript lists his class rank as No. 1. That’s out of a high school graduating class of 534 students. He’s on course to pick up both an associate’s degree and his high school diploma (with a Distinguished Achievement designation) this spring.

But he won’t get to give a speech. He won’t get his photo in the local papers. His name won’t go up on any special plaque. Abraham won’t be the valedictorian.

Because in the Dickinson Independent School District, it doesn’t matter if you have the highest grades at Dickinson High. In language added to the student handbook in recent years, the district specifically states that students who take dual college courses off campus cannot be the valedictorian or salutatorian. The official stance in Dickinson is that the 2014-15 student handbook makes it clear that if you opt for the dual course credit program off campus, you waive any chance to be named valedictorian or salutatorian in your class. Abraham, they say, should have read this, should have known this.