Saturday, April 28, 2012

Kid cheats, daddy sues school

A reader caught this letter to the editor of the S.J. Mercury News:
Son's cheating should be a lesson, not a lawsuit

Regarding your article (Page A1, April 27) on cheating: There is a reason for having students and parents sign academic honesty policies.

Cheating is very prevalent in our schools and thanks to parents like Jack Berghouse, many students feel that there's nothing wrong with copying from other sources and taking credit.

Instead of using his son's transgression as a valuable lesson, he's acting like a spoiled child and demanding that his son be reinstated in a class to which he clearly does not belong. What makes Berghouse think his son belongs in an Ivy League college if he can't handle a sophomore English class?

Does he realize that by suing the district, he is not only taking valuable funds away from the education of all students in the district but calling attention to this situation?

Our children need to learn that their actions have consequences -- both good and bad -- and letting them learn from their mistakes is part of responsible parenting.

Marcia Chron
Math teacher Sunnyvale

The story was also in yesterday's Santa Cruz Sentinel, p.C5, but without the father's occupation. Can you guess? Was he a dentist? truck driver? cop? insurance agent? No, of course not.

Here is the Mercury News followup story:

Jack Berghouse doesn't dispute that his son, a sophomore at Sequoia High School, copied someone else's homework. But the Redwood City father believes the school district was wrong to kick his teenager out of an English honors class for the offense, and his decision to sue has embroiled the family in a public, opinionated debate.

"I'm getting a lot of hate calls at my office," said Berghouse, who practices family law. "I had no freaking idea this would happen."

Berghouse's son and three other students were removed from a sophomore honors English class at Sequoia in Redwood City for copying and sharing homework. In response, Berghouse filed a suit last week in San Mateo County Superior Court, claiming his son's due process rights were violated. ...

All four students involved in the incident were transferred to regular English classes. Berghouse believes the punishment is disproportionate to the offense and will jeopardize the academic future of his son, who he said has a chance at attending an Ivy League school.

With the stakes and pressure high for students to get into selective colleges, children's grades and courses have become paramount for many parents.

"There is the possibility this will cause permanent harm. What university will it keep him out of? Will that have far-ranging consequences in what kind of job he can get?" Berghouse said.

Wow. Berghouse advises clients and goes into court every day arguing for the best interest of the child (BIOTCh), so he thought that he could bully the school officials with his stupid legalistic arguments. He "had no freaking idea" that people would hate him for it.

Lawyers are mostly evil, and family court lawyers are the worst. They thrive on exploiting human misery. His Yelp review says:

This is the unscrupulous attorney who is suing his sons' school district because they are holding the son responsible for cheating. The son admits to cheating and both he and family were notified in writing about the stern consequences of plagiarism. He evidently feels a sense of entitlement that allows his son to cheat in an honors class and not be held accountable for it. I notice that somehow several very negative reviews of this attorney have been deleted today - how did that happen? Several of the remaining reviews are overly positive and obviously fake. I would not trust this person. If he can't raise his own son to be honest how would he treat his clients? How did he influence Yelp to delete all the negative reviews about him?
Maybe he threatened to sue Yelp. If I had my way, people like Berghouse would not be allowed to argue the BIOTCh in court. If there is any justice, the court will send the boy out for a psychological evaluation, and then his Ivy League chance might depend on the whim of some creepy shrink.


tweell said...

What negative Yelp reviews? There are only 5 star positive reviews up now. Mental note: Yelp not a trustworthy review source.

Andrew said...

Actually, if you click into the filtered reviews of Berghouse's Yelp page, those reviews all came on 4/26 and 4/27 when the story of his lawsuit against Sequoia High came out. Thus, removed those reviews for violating content guidelines or terms of service and filtered a few others. In contrast, the Yelp page for Ken Perlmutter still puts two 1-star reviews on front. Yelp acknowledges its filter sometimes guts legit reviews (such as George's for Perlmutter).

George said...

Well, I actually think that it is reasonable for Yelp to give preference to reviews from paying customers, as opposed to those who read a newspaper article and disapprove of his lawsuit.

I was Perlmutter's customer, and he deserves my bad review.