- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 5, 2014

A Maryland middle school that sponsored a dance and pizza party for students who earned straight As on their most recent report cards has left some parents of lower-scoring kids angry and outraged, wondering about the state of their child’s self-esteem.

“The students that don’t get to go end up feeling bad,” said Karen Hanlon, the parent of a daughter with learning disabilities whose grades didn’t make the cut, in The Washington Post report.

The party at Eastern Middle School in Silver Spring, billed the “Academic Achievement Celebration,” doesn’t actually leave out all the lower-scoring students. Fox News reported that those with As will attend the disc-jockey-hosted affair first, during the school day, while those with Bs and Cs are allowed to attend once classes have ended. Those with grades in the D and F ranges aren’t invited at all.

Still, the party is supposed to inspire excellence, said Parent Teacher Student Association President Chris Rutledge, The Post reported.


“I think it’s a twofold process,” the PTSA head said. “The school has to, and does, help all children to strive to excel. And when they do, it’s important to recognize them.”

The school principal said similarly — that the party is “a congratulations and an incentive,” Fox News reported. But Barbara Marinak, an associate professor who researches student motivation, said the party actually has an adverse effect on those who haven’t made the grade.

“[It] creates a caste system that could easily result in bullying and victimization,” she said, The Post reported.