Case of A.F.

YELP students Jenna Sheldon-Sherman (’11) and Luke Weiger (’10) represented fifteen-year-old, A.F., in re-enrolling in high school after being denied admission for over 2 months.

Fifteen-year-old A.F. transferred to the Sequoia High School District in October 2009. A mere three weeks after he began, there were two melees involving a large number of students; one child was badly injured. A.F. was alleged to have been involved in the altercations, although there is no evidence of his participation. A.F. was never formally suspended or expelled for these incidents. Instead, the high school principal encouraged A.F. to “voluntarily” transfer to an alternative high school in the District. A few weeks after A.F. enrolled at the alternative school, the principal informed him that he could no longer attend; as a fifteen-year-old, A.F. was not yet old enough to meet the school’s 16-18 year-old age requirement. A.F. was again transferred. This time he was placed in an independent study program where he was given three hours of instruction per week and was told to complete packets of homework on his own. When A.F. tried to reenroll at his previous high school, he was denied access absent his agreement to sign a behavior contract. Because A.F. refused to sign a contract stating that he had done anything wrong, he remained enrolled in independent study.

A.F.’s mother came to YELP concerned that A.F. was receiving an insufficient education and was falling so far behind that he would not be able to graduate in four years with his class. She requested YELP’s help in re-enrolling A.F. in his original, comprehensive high school. After meetings and telephone conversations with the Superintendent’s office, the District Director of Alternative Education, the high school principal, and the District’s attorney, Jenna and Luke negotiated a behavior contract that was acceptable to both A.F. and the school. They accompanied A.F. and his mother to sign the contract and also met with his school counselor to re-enroll A.F. in classes and to set a plan for him to make up missing units. A.F. was re-enrolled in his high school and doing well as of the last report from him and his family.