News Release

Southeastern resolves dispute with student teacher

Contact: Rene Abadie


HAMMOND – Southeastern Louisiana University has resolved a dispute with a student who sued the university with ACLU support over a failing grade she received for her student teaching performance in spring 2005.

     In the resolution, which is expected to be approved by U.S. Magistrate Sally Shushan, senior education major Cynthia Thompson will be afforded basically the same opportunity presented to her prior to her filing suit – replacement of her “F” grade with a withdrawal “W” grade.    

     Southeastern Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs John L. Crain said the agreement does not provide any financial compensation or payment to Thompson or the ACLU,  and the resolution is consistent with the university’s original position on the student’s academic performance.

     Thompson and the ACLU alleged that Southeastern had given her a failing grade because she reported prayer activities at the school where she was assigned as a student teacher. University officials denied her allegations and called the legal action “groundless and without merit.”

     “We are pleased to resolve this issue, which was basically an academic matter that had been turned into a federal case,” Crain said. “As with any teacher education major who is not successful in the student teaching experience, Ms. Thompson will have the opportunity to participate in a teacher development plan intended to help her improve her teaching skills. After successfully completing this process, she would be offered another student teaching assignment and, if she successfully completes this assignment, she would be awarded her degree.

     “ The university complies with all applicable federal and state laws regarding school activities,” Crain added,  “and we were not a party to any activities that may have run counter to these laws. We maintained throughout this matter that our academic standards would not be compromised even in the face of litigation.”

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