City Honors student, parents object to lawsuit challenging admissions criteria

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Parents and students at City Honors in Buffalo are reacting strongly to a story you saw Thursday on News 4 at 5.

A complaint now being investigated by the U.S. Department of Education is challenging Buffalo schools that only accept the best and the brightest.

Parents of City Honors strongly object to a move that could threaten Buffalo schools that only accept students who test extremely high in academics and character, and who apply with strong recommendations. They believe their children deserve to be where they are.

RELATED | See the original story with more details about the lawsuit here

Jennifer Goetz says if the rules were changed, she would send her child to private school.

“He worked very hard to get into this school. It didn’t come easy to him, and he deserves it, so I would be very upset if it was taken away,” she said.

A federal complaint contends the entrance requirements for City Honors and other criteria-based schools are discriminatory against minorities.

District Parent Coordinating Council President Sam Radford said, “Every parent in Buffalo knows, if you don’t get your child into a few schools, that basically your child is doomed to go to one of the other schools, and so those parents are trying to change that.”

The complaint to the U.S. Department of Education was made by Patricia Elliott-Patton, whose family lives only blocks away from the Olmsted School. But her daughter Jennifer couldn’t get in and has to be bused to a school far away from home.

“That’s in South Buffalo. Majority of kids who go to that school are white children,” she said.

Some encouraging the complaint say high caliber students from the elite schools should be mixed in with lower performing students as a positive influence. But that didn’t go over well with City Honors students we talked with.

Student Scott Gartz said, “If you bring a really high standing kid to a low performing schools, it could rub off on him, and he could start doing worse than he was before.”

Student Jacob Hyzy added, “It will be more of a pull towards the higher kids to lower down their standards.”

Parent Greg Thornton said, “It would be terrible. I mean, this is a good school. If they close it or change it, it’s going to ruin it.”

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