Jack Berghouse of Redwood City said he and his wife filed the lawsuit, which names Sequoia Union High School District, District Superintendent James Lianides and Sequoia High School Principal Bonnie Hansen as defendants, because they believe their son's due process rights were violated when he was kicked out of an honors English class for copying the homework of another student, who was also removed from the class, the Palo Alto Daily News reported Friday.
The school said the sophomore and his mother signed an "Academic Honesty Pledge" at the start of the school year that explained he could be removed from the class for cheating. However, another school document states students would only be removed from an advanced-level program after a second plagiarism offense.
Berghouse said his son admitted to copying the homework, but the parents feel the punishment is disproportionate to the offense.
"He knows it's wrong," Berghouse said Tuesday. "You cannot imagine the mental and emotional penalty that has been inflicted upon him. He is a student who has a chance to do just about anything, and he thinks that this could take that away from him. We've offered several penalties, anything other than being kicked out of the English program."
Lianides said he could not comment on the student or the lawsuit.