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Parents Want To Sue LAUSD For Not Naming Daughter Valedictorian

(video credit: Ajay Singh.

EAGLE ROCK (CBS) — A couple wants to sue the Los Angeles Unified School District for not granting their daughter, who earned straight A's and a 4.50 GPA, the distinction of being her high school's valedictorian, the Eagle Rock Patch reported.

Elisha Marquez was told that her classmate Jasmine Fernandez, who earned a 4.55 GPA, would be valedictorian of Eagle Rock High School's graduating class and that Marquez would receive the 2nd-place Salutatorian award. The 18-year-old's family said she earned the same grades as Fernandez but that her GPA ranked just .05 lower because she didn't take as many AP courses as Fernandez.

"It's just like Pacquiao and Jessica Sanchez -- you're being robbed of the title," Elisha's mother, Carol, told CBS2.

Elisha Sanchez Salutatorian
(credit: CBS)

The family said Elisha was not in the school's magnet program which prevented her from taking AP classes as a freshman. Grades earned in AP courses are weighted one point higher than grades achieved in other classes -- an "A" in an AP class is counted as 5.0 towards a student's GPA while it would be considered a 4.0 in other courses.

"It's flawed. It's wrong," Carol told the Los Angeles Times. "All her hard work is not being recognized. All she had was straight A's. Not a B, ever."

Marquez's family said they are unhappy that the district does not consider student's final semester grades when calculating who will be valedictorian.

They're robbing the students of the credit," Elisha's father, Nelson, told the Times. "If you know in your heart you did your best, what else can you do? It's based on the system that you're ranked lower, not based on achievement."

The 3,000-student school held the graduation ceremony Wednesday and Elisha reportedly delivered a Salutatorian speech that garnered a lot of compliments from her classmates.

Elisha's parents admit the situation, "is what it is," but told CBS2 they don't see how other parents could see their concerns as over-the-top.

"They don't understand the real picture. What we're questioning is why did they have a cut-off, because what is the question of a valedictorian? It should be the student who has the highest grade," Carol told CBS2.

"They're not in the situation," Nelson told the Times. "You don't want your kid to be a loser. That's what they're basically saying. Be a loser.

The parents don't want to strip the valedictorian title from Fernandez, they just want the two graduates to share it.

Don't feel too sorry for Marquez -- the recent grad is headed to Stanford in the fall and was accepted to several Ivy League schools. She was also selected for an engineering internship at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and was granted a scholarship through the Gates Millenium Scholars program.

» Eagle Rock Patch: Should Eagle Rock High Honor Two Valedictorians?

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