Two Georgia parents who are refusing to allow their children to participate in the state’s standardized tests were confronted by a police officer and told they were trespassing on school grounds when they attempted to meet with administrators and express their opposition to the exams last week.
Mary and Tracy Finney oppose their children taking the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests and had initially sent an email to administrators asking if they could opt out.
“To my knowledge, there is not an opt-out option for the CRCT since these tests are mandated by state law,” West Side Elementary School principal Karen Smits wrote back in an email, according to the Marietta Daily Journal. “I have forwarded your email to our Superintendent, Dr. Lembeck, and Associate Superintendent Dayton Hibbs for further guidance. Someone will be in touch soon.”
That email did not quell the Finneys’ concerns.
“With all due respect, we never requested to opt out,” Tracy Finney wrote in response. “We are REFUSING the CRCTs.”
The parents then scheduled a meeting with the school principal Wednesday morning. The meeting was confirmed at 6:40 p.m. the night before, but later canceled via email by Smits at 9:04 p.m.
The Finneys claim they didn’t receive notice of the cancellation and showed up at the school in the morning. They were greeted by a police officer.
According to the Journal, the Finneys said the officer was kind, but told them being on school property while actively opposed to the test was “kind of a trespassing thing.” Further, the Finneys claim, they were told their kids weren’t permitted on school grounds if they were not participating in the state exams.
The police officer’s report confirmed the parents were told they and their children would be trespassing if they remained at the school, the Journal reported.
Tracy Finney told TheBlaze he was “shocked” when the officer greeted him and his wife.
“[W]e were not there to fight,” he said. “We were there to ensure our children were not forced to sit in the class during the test and told to stay quiet.”
It was not clear why the officer was at the scene and a spokesperson for the school district did not immediately respond to a request for comment from TheBlaze. Tracy Finney, however, told TheBlaze he thinks the officer’s presence was “pre-planned” because he was there “prior to the meeting.”
After the incident, school officials contacted Tracy Finney and ultimately resolved the matter.
“We received an email from our assistant superintendent telling us that if our children return to school, they would be welcomed,” he told TheBlaze. “The teachers were notified that our children were not to be presented the CRCT Standardized Test, and that our documented refusal of the test would serve as evidence that we had refused the test and that our wishes would be upheld.”
“They stated that we have been made aware of the consequences of our decision. The consequences are that we would meet with the [principal] and teachers to go over our children’s academic portfolio to determine their placement for the next school year. This, in our opinion, is a MUCH better solution to placing our children than a snapshot type test,” Tracy Finney added.
He said his family is “very satisfied with this response.”
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