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N.Y. principal nixes trip to spelling bee

UPI News Service, 01/11/2007 

A New York City principal reportedly barred two special ed students from representing her school in a spelling bee because she thought they were too dumb.

The New York Post and New York Daily News report Intermediate School 252 Principal Mendis Brown kept Lamarre St. Phard and Christian Cartagena from advancing to regional competition for the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

"I went to her office and asked her why I can't be in the spelling bee and she said, 'You don't have the brains,'" St. Phard, 13, told the Post. "She said, 'You're going to go to the first round and get eliminated and make the school look bad.'"

St. Phard told the Daily News: "I felt embarrassed. The door was open and other people heard it, too."

Librarian Carrie Patterson told the Post Brown didn't want St. Phard representing the Brooklyn school because "he can't even read."

A spokeswoman for Brown said the principal's decision had nothing to do with the children's special ed status; she just decided not to send anyone to the regional competition when both the first-place winner and the first runner-up decided against attending. St. Phard and Cartagena placed behind the top two.

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Copyright 2007 by United Press International

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