'A high school that requires some students to wear ID badges announcing their failing grades is causing bullying and public ridicule, especially for students with learning disabilities, and has caused the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to step in.
Mingus Union High School in Cottonwood, Ariz., issues ID badges for all students to hang around their necks — freshmen and sophomores wear red-colored cards and juniors and seniors wear gray, both of which are school colors. “These are standard badges worn by students at schools across the nation issued in large part as identification in the case of a school shooting,” attorney Susan Segal, who is representing the school, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “At Mingus, older kids are allowed to leave campus for lunch and their colored badges indicate their grade level to security guards.”
But according to the Arizona chapter of the ACLU, upperclassmen who struggle in classes must also wear red badges (a.k.a. “scarlet badges” of shame) with numbers that indicate their repeated grade level if their marks don’t improve. “Not surprisingly, students forced to wear the bright-red badges have experienced increased bullying, public ridicule, and shaming by other students and teachers,” reads a Dec. 28th letter from the ACLU to superintendent Genie Gee.
A student whose identity was kept private “has heard other students call classmates wearing the scarlet badge ‘stupid’ and ‘problem kids,'” wrote legal director Kathleen E. Brody. The student “reports that because of wearing the scarlet badge, [redacted] receives less individual instruction from teachers because they assume [redacted] is not interested, motivated, or capable of learning. This all causes [redacted] to experience increased anxiety at school, feel ostracized from other students, and feel stigmatized by teachers and administrators.”
The ACLU says the scarlet badges violate the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), a federal law that keeps students’ educational records private, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees that people are treated equally.'
Read more: School policy forces kids with bad grades to wear special IDs: 'Public ridicule,' says ACLU
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