A former Woodrow Wilson student is taking legal action against Dallas ISD after an administrative fumble changed the Woodrow Wilson class rank just days before graduation.

The changes caused Jackson Hansen to drop from second to sixth in the class rank. In the lawsuit filed Monday in Dallas County District Court, he petitions DISD for a correction of the academic rankings and a public declaration that he is the salutatorian of the class of 2019.

“I have filed for declaratory judgment (no monetary compensation) only with this purpose: I am requesting that my academic records (and therefore those of my classmates) are validated and listed correctly in writing in DISD permanent records for any future academic applications or needs I may have,” Hansen said in a statement.

District officials apologized to parents and students for the error but proceeded with the new rankings for graduation.

“DISD refuses to acknowledge the Plaintiff was salutatorian to his class,” according to the lawsuit. “When academic institutions and employers attempt to confirm his rank and status, DISD will not state in writing that he was ranked second and was salutatorian of the class.”

Hansen and his attorney, Erik Hansen, request that DISD will acknowledge him as salutatorian to any future potential employer, university or other person making an inquiry.

The error stemmed from updates to the course manual that the Texas Education Agency published in July 2018. DISD administrators were supposed to program the changes into the student information system, but an audit in April 2019 revealed that course credits were not changed accurately, according to a district memo sent to parents at Woodrow. When the district corrected the problem, it changed the number of credits awarded to certain courses, meaning that some students took the same class and did the same work, but got more credit.

The district does not comment on pending litigation, Robyn Harris, communications director for DISD, said in a statement.

Read the full court documents here.


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