PEQUOT, SD --- A report card that would have earned youngsters a beating twenty years ago will now earn them something else: a place on the honor roll. At least in Pequot, South Dakota. Superintendent of schools, Pat "The Freezer" Burn last Friday announced that the troubled school district is now introducing a "C" honor roll.
To be placed on the honor roll, students need to maintain a 2.0 GPA.
"We can make exceptions in some cases," Burn explained. "Like athletes, or special ed students - the behavioral kids, especially - or those who are on parole, or those who have admitted that they have an anger control, substance problems. We can go down to a 1.75. And you have to admit, that's pretty close, isn't it?"
Burn said that declining enrollment numbers over the last few years and an article about a similar program in the South Bronx schools inspired him to try this novel approach.
"After the school riot last year, where some teachers got hurt, and one or two - I think - were killed, we had to think of something to get the kids to come back to school," Burn elaborated. "We receive federal and state aid for each student who is enrolled, and that affects all our paychecks."
Asked how this approach can to be reconciled with "No Child Left Behind", Burn said, "Hey, we're giving the kids something to be proud of. How can they be left behind, when they're coming to school? Besides, I think academics are overrated."
Burn is a college athlete who taught himself to read and write with the Laubach system while pursuing his Specialist in Education degree at the Wyoming School of Mining.
Alice Schnoering, president of the America Federation of Teachers Local 268, called Burn's plans, "Ridiculous. Completely unacceptable."
But local parents feel the "C" honor roll will instill a new and much needed sense of pride in the school and the town.
Said Jeff Laroche, father of 21 year-old sophomore Matthyew, "People, like from out of town, they see the boarded up store windows when they drive on Main Street and they say what the hell is this, but our kids is a lot smarter than they think."