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american lawyer media news service Albany, n.y.-A Manhattan girl who skipped high school, went straight to college and earned a 3.8 grade point average can’t get her associate degree because she doesn’t have a high school diploma, and she can’t get one of those because she’s too young. Angela Lipsman’s dilemma is of her own making and that of her defiant father, and not the result of constitutional deprivation or age discrimination, a New York state court trial judge has ruled. “Instead of following state law upon the issue of school attendance they chose to chart their own education course for Angela and now must deal with the annoying result of that decision,” Supreme Court Justice Bernard J. Malone Jr. said. The unusual case involves a child prodigy who took her first college course at age 11 and, after finishing eighth grade at PS 187 in Washington Heights, N.Y., and passing two high school regents exams, opted for college. Lipsman, 15, has met every requirement necessary to graduate from the Borough of Manhattan Community College, except one. She does not have a high school equivalency diploma. New York law requires children to remain in school until they are 16, and it will not award an equivalency diploma to someone under 17. Catch-22 Justice Malone said Lipsman, who has completed 33 college courses and accumulated 71 credits, could have avoided this Catch-22 by remaining in public school and pursuing her high school studies at an accelerated pace. Additionally, he said she could have been home-schooled on a fast track. Lipsman’s father is a retired teacher. Yet she bypassed high school altogether in violation of the law. “Angela was not legally free to ‘skip’ high school,” Malone wrote in Lipsman v. New York State Education Department, No. 102527/03. The case arose when Lipsman was advised that she would not be awarded her associate’s degree without certifying that she had a high school diploma. After she was denied a high school equivalency diploma, her father, Daniel Lipsman, brought a pro se action alleging age discrimination. Malone dismissed the claim. He said the state clearly has a compelling interest advanced by compulsory school attendance for youths between the ages of 6 and 16, and the bar on granting a equivalency degree to those younger than 17 is related to that public policy objective. “I am not too thrilled,” Angela Lipsman said in an interview. “I just don’t think it is fair.”

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