CLAYTON, Mo. (CN) – A school district defamed a state champion swimmer, causing Colorado State to rescind her swimming scholarship, the girl’s parents say in a demand for punitive damages against Rockwood School District.
Mary and Peter McCoy claim the school district sent false statements about their daughter to Colorado State, causing the university to rescind her scholarship.
“(M)embers of the guidance counseling department at Lafayette High School conspired to deprive Shannon McCoy of her scholarship to Colorado State University by falsely completing a derogatory and inaccurate Recommendation Form on her and submitting the Recommendation Form to the Colorado State University Admissions Office,” according to the complaint in St. Louis County Court.
The family also sued a school guidance counselor and the principal.
The McCoys claim that the recommendation form, completed by guidance counselor Beth Brasel, stated that Shannon was “below average” in five critical personality traits: Initiative, Character, Integrity, Leadership, and Commitment to Service.
Brasel allegedly stated that she had known Shannon for a year, but the McCoys say she never knew Shannon.
Colorado State rescinded its scholarship offer after receiving the form, leaving Shannon with no collegiate swimming opportunities for the 2009 season, the complaint states.
Shannon had turned down scholarship offers from the University of Nebraska and the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, according to the complaint.
Shannon won two Missouri state swimming championships and was a member of two state champion relay teams for Lafayette; she was named to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s All-Metro team four times, including twice to the first team, according to the complaint.
She had a 3.0 grade point average, received Lancer Student Athlete Awards from Lafayette High in three of her four years and is a four-time Rockwood School District John M. Kastner Board of Education Award winner for achieving the “highest standards of excellence that embody the Rockwood spirit,” her parents say.
The McCoys won an appeal with Colorado State in June 2010 and the university has notified them that Shannon will be accepted on her swimming scholarship this fall, the complaint states.
They demand punitive damages from Rockwood School District, Brasel, and Lafayette High School Principal John Shaughnessy.