AHS honor roll won#039;t be published in newspapers

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 24, 2003

The Austin High School honor roll was not published in local papers after first quarter. And it won't be published the quarters after that.

Principal Joe Brown said publishing the honor roll violates the Data Practices Act. Students who make the honor have to have a certain grade point average and be in good standing, meaning they cannot be in trouble with the law.

When people read the newspaper and see that a student they know to usually be on the honor roll is not listed, they would know the student got in trouble, Brown said.

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He also said he is not sure if it's fair to list those who earn As and Bs, but not those who get Cs, Ds and Fs.

"I just have a tough time with publishing how people are doing in school," he said.

Instead of their names printed in the paper, students will receive a certificate produced by Packer Graphics.

"(The students) really think that's cool," Brown said.

Brown said he received one call from a parent who noticed the first quarter honor roll was not in the paper and he explained the new policy.

"The parent was fine with it," Brown said.

Parent and student reaction to the policy is mixed, with some saying they did not know about the new policy.

"It's a bummer," said Mark Cavanaugh, a junior. "Students should be recognized for academic achievement as well as athletics."

Jon Barnett, a senior, said people are only assuming a student got in trouble if they are not listed on the honor roll. He and junior Kelly Momsen said they do not think many people know that a discipline record is part of being on the honor roll.

"When I've looked at the honor roll, it hasn't really ever occurred to me," Barnett said.

Junior Troy Hoefflin shook his a head little bit.

"That's upsetting, very upsetting," he said. "It should be published. It's a reward for getting on the honor roll."

Matthew Jenson, a junior, said if students get in trouble with the law, that's a consequence they have to accept.

Hoefflin added that the new policy punishes the students who make the honor roll.

Other students were not as concerned about it.

"It's kind of cool to see your name in the paper, but it's not a big deal," said Jordan Van Proosdy, a senior.

Mary Wiekum, who has one child at AHS, said having the list in the paper is gratifying for the students.

"They should be recognized," she said.

Debi Berg, a parent of two AHS students, said it's nice for the students, but also puts pressure on them to make the list. If they don't see their name in the paper, they might become discouraged, she said.

"He's got a valid point," Berg said of Brown.

Her husband, Randy, said it was strange that after so many years of publishing it, the school would stop. But he also said he wasn't sure what to think of the new policy.

"There are all kinds of ways to think about it," he said.

Some car insurance companies offer discounts for student drivers on the honor roll. Brown said parents can request honor roll information about their child if it is needed.

Brown also said this policy isn't permanent.

"If there's a huge outpouring, I'll be glad to take another look," Brown said.

Cari Quam can be reached at 434-2235 or by e-mail at :mailto:cari.quam@austindailyherald.com