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The Red Ink Ban of 1982


This page refers to the events surrounding the banning of the use of red ink by teachers when grading assignments.


Origin


The Red Ink Ban was a series of policies passed by administrators of the South Nuevo Jacinto School District near Berkeley, California which banned  the use of red ink by educators while grading assignments. Originally petitioned for in 1980, it was not until August 1982 that the regulation was passed. 


“In no situation shall any faculty or staff offend a student by use of red ink when identifying shortcomings of the instruction identified in the student’s assignments. It is the educators duty to educate and it shall not be the feelings, self esteem or delicate sensibilities of the student that will be damaged when the educators fails in doing their duty.”

(Excerpt from the SNHSD Employee Manual, dated Aug, 2014.)


Prior to 1982 district  educators routinely used red pens when grading assignments due to the high contrast it provided against its background. 


Background


During the 1980-81 school year english teacher; Adam Henchcliff, at South Nuevo Jacinto High School found himself under scrutiny after viciously correcting a student’s assignment using not just red ink but a red marker. Due to the fact that the student had missed an understandable amount of days of class due to totally legitimate reasons the student’s understanding of the topic was mostly inexistent. Also due to his absences, the students work was also turned in after the original due date. Henchcliff, now dangerously close to violating the district’s three strike policy; firstly, for not instructing the student properly and second for not properly motivating the student to appear in class, then infuriates not only the student body but the PTA and many other social justice organizations after news of his atrocious treatment of a child became public.


“It was just a pen.”

(Taken from an interview with Henchcliff in 1988)


Aftermath



Following his unscrupulous behavior Mr. Henchcliff (at the time 26 years old) was asked to resign his position and has since been banned from teaching in the county in which he committed his heinous acts. Now a PhD educated professor of British literature at University of Missouri, Columbia. 



Brock Jameson (at the time,17), after winning a lawsuit against the school district which included the requirement that Henchcliff resign as well as two million dollars for pain and suffering, finished high school in 1985. He then went on to attend college at the University of California, Berkeley where his father bought made  sizable contributions to the school as a thanks for accepting his son. During the second semester of his freshman year, Brock was almost ejected from the university under accusations of both academic dishonesty and sexual harassment of female high school students while they attended a campus tour. After acquiring his Bachelors in Business Management in 1991, Brock when on to accept employment with his father. Now divorced, Brock lives in his father’s basement.