The “bottom 90 percent”

Every spring at a nearby high school, administrators play host to a breakfast to honor seniors for exemplary academic performance. The principal announces the names of students who rank in the top ten percent of the class.

One year, the school received a complaint from the mother of a girl who was not in the top ten percent. She pointed out that she had signed a right-to-privacy form that prohibits the school from releasing any information about her child to the public. She claimed that the breakfast event violated her daughter’s right to privacy.

As she told the principal, “When you announce the top ten percent, you also identify the bottom ninety percent. I do not want people to know that my daughter was in the bottom 90 percent of the class.” The school has since discontinued the breakfast.