Student, parent intimidate professor

Northern Kentucky University’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) and Highland Heights police department were called Dec. 15, 2008 to back up a professor who felt ‘uncomfortable’ with a parent and student questioning her about the student’s grades, according to the police report.

Victoria Allen, part-time faculty in the visual arts department, said she has not dealt with a situation like this in the past, but that is a concern among professors.

Allen explained that the incident occurred when the student and her mother came to the classroom to pick up her work from the fall 2008 semester. At that point, the student and her mother started asking Allen questions about grades the student received on several projects.

According to the police report, Allen asked the student’s mother to leave at least four times so she could discuss the student’s grades with the student alone. The mother refused to leave and both the mother and student kept questioning Allen.

According to Allen, the mother said that the’ Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) did not apply and the professor could discuss with her. FERPA states that once students reach age 18, parents no longer have the right to their child’s educational records without written permission from the student.

Allen said professors typically refer parents to the department office, but because it was an evening class that met after department hours, that was not an option. Instead, she called DPS to help back her up.

‘I really felt (the questioning) wasn’t going to stop,’ Allen said.

The questioning continued after the officer from DPS arrived in the classroom and asked the mother to leave. According to the police report, when DPS asked the mother for identification, she refused, saying she was a teacher and the officer was going to ruin her career. The mother also threatened to contact Highland Heights police department, saying the responding officer was ‘just a campus cop,’ according to the police report.

Before the mother finally left the building, she gave the officer the wrong first name, according to DPS. The officer was able to identify the women correctly through the student’s records and the driver’s license photo on file with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

Allen said the student’s grades are currently being reviewed by the department chair and he will make the final decision.

At the time of publication, neither the mother or the student have been able to be reached for comment.