Michigan high school student in special education denied academic award

Posted at 10:37 PM, Oct 31, 2017

At 16 years old, Gabe Richards has been working hard to get good grades.

He's secured straight As while being a part of the special education program at Marysville High School in Michigan.

But, after getting invited to be honored at an academic awards ceremony Monday night, Gabe said he was disappointed to be told at the event that his invite was a mistake.

"We were really excited and don't get the chance to celebrate achievements all the time," said his mother Stefanie Grassel.

Grassel said the faculty did apologize and acknowledge they mistakenly sent an invitation letter.

However, as a mother, Grassel said she wants to see the policy changed to become more inclusive.

"It sends the message that they are less than a general education student, and that's wrong," she added.

Richards also told us he feels disappointed after what happened. 

District superintendent Shawn Whiteman refused to do an interview in response to what happened. Instead, he issued the following statement addressing the matter:

"The criteria for students to receive the distinguished “Academic Award” from Marysville High School are a GPA greater than or equal to 3.5 and that they are enrolled in a certain amount of academic-based classes.

After speaking with our high school principal, it was evident that a mistake was made when identifying students for this award, due to the fact that a letter was sent home inviting a student to the ceremony who didn’t meet the full criteria.

It is clear that the high school made an error in identifying students for this year’s award and we respectfully apologize for any grief this has caused.  Because of this, we will be taking corrective action so that this does not happen again in the future."