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Careful Who You're Calling a Jerk, Jerk: High School Swimmer Sues District Over Bad Recommendation

Categories: Education
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Shannon McCoy, getting her way
Recent Lafayette High School graduate Shannon McCoy is doing what every high schooler dreams of doing: getting back at the guidance counselor whose letters of recommendation and sealed transcripts and records controlled her college fate. 

McCoy is a state champion swimmer in Missouri, and had signed a letter of intent in November 2009 to swim for Colorado State University, on a scholarship that would offset about 80 percent of her cost of attendance at CSU.   She was all set. Until, that is, Beth Brasel, McCoy's guidance counselor, sent CSU a recommendation form identifying McCoy as "below average" in five traits including integrity, character, integrity, commitment to service and leadership. 

At which point CSU decided it had no interest in educating a girl who appeared on paper to be a huge jerk, and rescinded not only their scholarship offer, but also admission to the school. 

The swimmer was left with no options, having turned down her other scholarship and college offers. She said that Brasel had never met her when she filled out the form.

All's well that ends well: McCoy won an appeal to the school and they took back their take-back, and she will be swimming at Colorado State next fall. Not, however, without exacting her revenge.

McCoy's parents are suing Brasel, the school's principal and Rockwood School District for "financial, emotional and psychological harm," to the tune of $75,000. Which, for reference, more than covers the other 20 percent of McCoy's expenses at Colorado State for the next four years, and leaves McCoy and her parents just under $50,000 extra to roll around in. 

To summarize: Smug guidance counselors of the world, take heed. Someday, that snot-nosed kid you're harassing about improving their SAT scores could be suing your pants off for being mean to them. 


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