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Student sues to end summer homework

Bruce Larson, left, and his son, Peer, 17, have filed a lawsuit seeking to bar homework assignments over the summer. Mary Jo Walicki / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
/ Source: The Associated Press

A student whose vacation plans were spoiled has sued to end summer homework in Wisconsin, claiming it creates an unfair workload and unnecessary stress.

Peer Larson, 17, had lined up a dream camp counselor job last June, but honors pre-calculus homework turned his summer into a headache.

“It didn’t completely ruin my summer, but it did give me a lot of undue stress both at home and at work,” the high school junior said Thursday. “I just didn’t have the energy or the time for it.”

Larson and his father sued in Milwaukee County Circuit Court seeking the end of summer homework across the state. They argue that homework shouldn’t be required after the required 180-day school year is over.

“These students are still children, yet they are subjected to increasing pressure to perform to ever-higher standards in numerous theaters,” the suit said.

School administrators have told the family that honors courses require some summer work.

Whitnall School Superintendent Karen Petric told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel the district did its best to address the Larsons’ concerns.

“I strongly believe the district acted appropriately and didn’t do anything wrong,” she said. “Court is not the place to solve it.”

While students will probably root for the Larsons, lawyers contacted Thursday questioned the suit’s legal grounds. Larson and his son had acted as their own legal counsel.

“This is the sort of thing that has been traditionally handled by school boards,” said attorney Thomas R. Schrimpf. Another attorney, Timothy Baldwin, predicted the case would be dismissed.

The Jan. 10 lawsuit names a math teacher, three school administrators and the state’s superintendent of public instruction. Wisconsin’s attorney general’s office will assign a lawyer to respond to the suit, said spokesman Brian Rieselman.