HOUSTON – A high school senior who was denied the honor of valedictorian because of absences due to anorexia (search) accepted an honorary title Tuesday.
Karen Scherr, 18, who maintained straight A's through high school, was ineligible to be valedictorian at Kingwood High School (search) because she missed the first six weeks of school during her junior year. She was hospitalized because of the eating disorder at the time.
But she caught up on her work and maintained her No. 1 ranking.
School officials told Scherr and her family Monday that the honorary valedictorian (search) title would be their best offer, district spokeswoman Karen Collier said.
A student must be enrolled on the 20th day of his or her junior year to be eligible to become valedictorian, according to school policy. Changing the policy retroactively would be unfair to other students, the district said.
The honorary title will allow Scherr to speak at the May 27 graduation. The district will also place her picture on the school's "Wall of Honor," with the official valedictorian, Alex Gorham. His GPA is 0.07 points lower.
Several top students, including Gorham, have told the superintendent that Scherr is being unjustly punished for being ill and that she should be the valedictorian.