Former student files lawsuit over grades
By JEANNE STARMACK
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
AUSTINTOWN -- A former student is suing the Austintown school district because of two grades she received.
The suit was filed Saturday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.
In the suit, Brianne L. Hingel says two grades she earned in two courses were either calculated or reported incorrectly, and she requested that the school district change the grades.
The suit, a writ of mandamus, asks the court to force the district to revise the grades.
Brad Gessner, school board president, said he has not seen the suit.
Gessner said the suit is the result of an ongoing argument with Hingel's father, Fred, over the grades -- two B-pluses she received in Advanced Placement Calculus and Advanced Placement English when she was a senior last year.
"Her father said they should have been A's," Gessner said.
Gessner said Fred Hingel, of Ruby Court, spoke at many school board meetings and met with administrators over the grades and, finally, the district sent him a letter months ago advising him that the grades weren't going to change.
According to Vindicator files, Fred Hingel believes the school district is violating a policy that states teachers should be able to justify their grades. He said his daughter's teachers have not justified her grades to him.
He spoke at the school board meetings, sent letters to newspapers and called talk radio to press his case.
Stan Watson, superintendent at the time, said the teachers met with Hingel, the Fitch High School principal and the school board and justified the grades, according to the paper's files.
Hingel said his daughter, a senior at Fitch High School last year, has completed one year at Walsh University in Canton. He said she earned A's, not B-pluses, and should have received the grades she earned.
"If you earn $100,000, and they pay you $90,000, wouldn't you want the $100,000?" Hingel said Thursday. "Grades are no different."
Brianne Hingel was not available to comment.
Gessner said that when he receives a copy of the suit, he'll turn it over to the district's legal counsel.