High School Senior With 0.13 GPA Ranks In Top Half Of Class — But Has To Go Back To Freshman Year

Our students need help.

Tiffany France Interview WJLA/Leonard Zhukovsky/Shutterstock

A Baltimore mother of a 17-year-old high school senior thought her son would be coming home with a diploma this June. But to her horror, she's just found out that her son is being forced to start high school all over again. 

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Tiffany France's son ranked in the top half of his class despite his 0.13 GPA. 

According to France, the school hadn't notified her about her son's academic shortcomings until February.


The 17-year-old attends Augusta Fells Savage Institute of Visual Arts in Baltimore, where his transcripts show he's only passed three classes in four years (amounting to 2.5 credits). Despite this, the teen is ranked near the top half of his class with a 0.13 grade point average. 

The school has a history of low academic performances. 

According to reports, hundreds of the school's students are failing. In the case of France's son, transcripts showed that despite failing Spanish I, Algebra I, and English II, he was still promoted to Spanish II, Algebra II, and English III.

His mother, who works three jobs to support her three children, was stunned by the school's actions when she learned of them. 


“I'm just assuming that if you are passing, that you have the proper things to go to the next grade and the right grades, you have the right credits,” said France.

In his first three years of high school, France's son failed 22 classes and was deemed late or absent for a whopping total of 272 days. Only one teacher ever requested a parent conference, and France confirms it never happened. No one thought to inform the mother about her son failing and skipping classes. 

“I feel like they never gave my son an opportunity, like if there was an issue with him, not advancing or not progressing, that they should have contacted me first, three years ago,” she said. 

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An unnamed City Schools administrator says the school failed the teen. 

The administrator, who chooses to remain anonymous in fear of retaliation, says the school has protocols and interventions in place to assist students who are either falling behind or have low attendance.

The source claims that none of these measures were applied to France's son. 

“I get angry. There's nothing but frustration. We see on the news the crime that occurs, the murders, the shootings, we know that there are high levels of poverty in Baltimore. Things like this are adding to that," the administrator said. 

"His transcript is not unusual to me. I've seen many transcripts, many report cards, like this particular student."


ABC7 also received a 2-page statement from the former City Schools CEO. According to the district, students who are either "chronically absent" or failing are supposed to receive letters about their current standing and automated phone calls. 

The district claimed the school conducted a home visit to France's home and also held a conference with her, though the mother says none of this happened. 

The teen has been pulled out of his former school.

France says she's enrolled her son in an accelerated program at Baltimore's Francis M. Wood High School. The family's been told that if the 17-year-old buckles down, he might be able to graduate by 2023. 

The unfortunate reality behind France's story is that this appears to be a common occurrence across the nation. Studies show that prior to the pandemic and virtual learning, U.S students from different demographics were still seeing drops in their academic performances. 


Cases like these remind us that our students need to be helped, not punished.

While it's important to hold them accountable for the actions, we must also do the same with our school systems. Regardless of various opinions that try to pinpoint why America's public education fails, one thing can certainly be agreed upon: something needs to be done. And soon.  

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Yona Dervishi is a writer who covers topics pertaining to news and entertainment.