An ex-student of the $40,000-a-year Washington DC private school attended by former presidents’ children, is suing the institution after she failed to gain unconditional acceptance from 13 top colleges.
Dayo Adetu – who attended Sidwell Friends School from 2000 to 2014 – claims in a lawsuit that the school acted against her in college applications, test scores, rankings and recommendations, after she had previously settled for $50,000 in a July 2013 discrimination suit.
Adetu’s parents Titilayo and Nike Adetu had accused the school of using ‘biased, improper scoring’ and claimed they accommodated for other students’ involvement in athletics but ‘steadfastly refused’ to do the same for their daughter, mainly when it came to mathematics.
As well as the payout, Sidwell agreed to recalculate certain grades from her junior year in high school and vowed not retaliate, according the family. But now they want the Supreme Court to review the case as they claim the institution breached the DC Office of Human Rights’ settlement agreement.
Dayo Adetu attended Sidwell Friends School from 2000 to 2014 and sued them in her junior year for ‘biased, improper scoring’. She won $50,000 in settlement after they claimed staff ‘steadfastly refused’ to make accommodations for her athletics
Sidwell agreed to recalculate certain grades and vowed not retaliate but the Adetu family says the school breached the agreement and Thursday the Supreme Court considered hearing the case
Adetu ‘was the only student in her graduating class of 126 students who did not receive unconditional acceptance from any educational institution to which she applied,’ the complaint states.
Princeton, Yale, Harvard, Columbia, Cornell, Penn, Duke, Johns Hopkins, CalTech, MIT, the University of Virginia, McGill and Spelman are named among schools that didn’t not offer unconditional acceptances.
‘Despite the fact that Sidwell touts a 100% college matriculation rate for its graduating high school seniors, Dayo did not receive unconditional acceptance to any of the thirteen (13) universities to which she applied and desired admission,’ Richard Baker, the Adetus’ lawyer says in the April Supreme Court documents.
‘Sidwell touts a 100% college matriculation rate for its graduating high school seniors,’ Richard Baker, the Adetus’ lawyer says in the lawsuit
Lawsuit evidence dates back to 2012 and mentions an incident in December that year where then-Headmaster, Thomas Farquhar, is alleged to have said ‘all of the teachers want the Adetus gone, gone, gone from the School,’ and that ‘non-retaliation [against Dayo] is now off the table’.
The previous year, Dayo’s older sister Lola had filed a discrimination complaint against Sidwell with the DC Office of Human Rights.
Baker notes that Dayo ‘proved to be a gifted mathematician, as well as a nationally recognized merit scholar and student-athlete’ plus entertained track coaches from Brown, Princeton and Colombia.
The documents state the wrong transcript was sent to universities, and the student’s math grade was not amended as agreed.
Baker adds that as part of the admissions process a referee mentioned the students’ Nigerian background but he notes Dayo is American the person had no business mentioning her parents’ nationality because it created a false impression about her.
It was after the Adetus claimed Sidwell acted against her in college applications, test scores, rankings and recommendations, resulting in her not getting unconditional acceptances to 13 colleges she applied for. However the appeals court rejected the filing in January
Lawsuit notes Sidwell touts 100% college matriculation rate for its graduates
Sidwell had described the claim as ‘generalized gripes founded speculation’ from the family and said it was entitled to academic deference.
A second round of applications saw the student end up at University of Pennsylvania in 2015, which she graduated from in May.
District of Columbia Court of Appeals in January ruled against the Adetus family and said they ‘failed to make a sufficient showing that Sidwell engaged in “adverse action” against Dayo or that objectively tangible harm resulted.’
The court said responded that the filing was simply based on emotional damages for an alleged breach of the settlement from years ago.
Sidwell did not submit a filing in response the recent petition.
An April filing to the Supreme Court states: ‘Sidwell has long been perceived as a “feeder-school” to Ivy League institutions and other top universities.’
On Thursday, the Supreme Court was considering whether to hear the Adetus’ case – one of the 7,000 they receive annually, of which they only accept one per cent.
Malia Obama attended the school and her younger sister, Sasha, is due to graduate this year. Malia is shown with her parents at a 2011 function at the school
The children of former president Barack Obama, Sasha and Malia attended Sidwell. Some of former Vice President Joe Biden’s grandchildren went there.
Former First Lady Hillary and then-POTUS Bill Clinton sent daughter Chelsea to the fee-paying school. Even the children of Presidents Nixon and Eisenhower attended the DC school.
Some parents of 2019 seniors were recently accused of pushing Sidwell staff to the limit to try to get their children into top colleges.
Head Bryan Garman chastised the parents for their ‘disrespectful’ treatment of staff after two of three college admissions counselors quit this year.
Director of college counseling Patrick Gallagher and his colleague Adam Ortiz left.
Chelsea Clinton is shown at her 1997 high school graduation at Sidewell. Bill Clinton gave a speech