The lawyer representing the Florida teenager whose improved SAT score was under scrutiny has threatened “every possible legal remedy” for what he described as unwarranted implications of cheating. Kamilah Campbell, 18, said she worked hard to improve her original score of 900, but SAT officials called her latest score “invalid,” according to reports.
Campbell, alongside her lawyer, renowned civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, said she felt she was being accused of cheating by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), which oversees the SAT.
“I did not cheat,” Campbell said defiantly during a press conference Wednesday in Miami. “I studied, and I focused to achieve my dream. I worked so hard and did everything I could do.”
Crump, who also represented the family of Trayvon Martin, echoed that sentiment in a media advisory his office released Wednesday.
“ETS violated Kamilah’s constitutional right to be considered innocent until proven guilty and denied Kamilah due process,” the media release said in part.
“The family is demanding ETS release her test scores within the next two weeks so that colleges and scholarship committees can appropriately evaluate her applications,” it continued. “If not, Crump said the family will move forward with exploring every legal remedy available to give Kamilah the justice she deserves, including but not limited to pursuing litigation on the basis of a violation of her civil rights.”
Campbell said an ETS employee told her that she scored 1230 on her second SAT testing, an improvement of better than 300 points. She said she got a tutor, “took online classes and she got a copy of a The Princeton Review prep book,” according to a CNN report. (It should be noted that The Princeton Review guarantees a higher SAT score than the previous attempt if a student enrolls in a prep course. If a score is not higher, The Princeton Review will refund the course’s cost in full.)
While neither Campbell nor Crump made any reference to race, it was impossible to ignore the fact that the high school senior is African-American. Her color factored into the long-lingering SAT achievement gap between Blacks and other races. “These gaps have a significant impact on life chances, and therefore on the transmission of inequality across generations,” according to research conducted by the Brookings Institution, a nonprofit public policy organization.
Having SAT scores flagged was not unprecedented, but Daisy Gonzalez-Diego, the chief spokeswoman from the Miami-Dade School District, said she felt “a moral obligation to intervene” in a review process that could take longer than a month and jeopardize Campbell’s chances of being accepted into the colleges of her choice.