Moyers Students Exempt From State Testing After Parents Die

Wednesday, April 23rd 2014, 9:53 pm
By: News On 6

By Justin Dougherty, News 9

It was the Facebook post read around the state. Moyers Public Schools superintendent shared her concerns online and created a social media uproar.

Now those in the capital city are speaking out. Close to 5,000 likes and 3,000 shares on one post originated from a town of about 450 people.

Posted Tuesday around 2:00pm superintendent of Moyers Public schools Donna Dudley wrote:

"In my 25 years in education I have seen many changes. As a teacher, principal and superintendent, I have always tried to make these changes adapt to our particular school in a way that follows the guidelines but also takes into consideration the individual child. This has worked relatively well as I feel that we follow state guidelines and our students' needs are always considered. Personally, as an educator, I have always felt that too much emphasis has been placed on testing but if that is what is required by individuals more qualified than myself, then that is what we will do. However, with that being said, I find myself in a very difficult position. We have a family of students whose parents were both killed in a car accident this week. When our district test administrator called the State Department of Education to ask for an emergency exemption for these students, it was denied. This is not considered a reason for exemption by the SDE. The SDE believes these students should be tested and their scores be used to not only judge them but also used to evaluate their teachers and their school at a time in their life that is unimaginable to most. So as administrator of our district, I have made the decision to go against the SDE rules and exempt these students from taking their tests. This may or may not cause our school to receive an "F" on our school report card for not meeting our testing percentage but it is the only decision that best meets the needs of our students. As an educator and a human being with a reasonable amount of common sense, I don't feel like any test these students take during this time would be valid in any way. Testing and its importance are quickly escalating out of control and our common sense appears to be going in the opposite direction." – Donna Dudley.

Seven hours later at 9:00 p.m. State Superintendent Janet Barresi heard about the situation.

"I'm just trying to take their circumstance into consideration but first and foremost the children....we just want those kids not to have any stress on them," said State Superintendent Janet Barresi.

Barresi has exempted the two students. She personally called Dudley. But Dudley said, "I felt I had already handled the situation in my school. I just want people to know too much importance is being placed on this test."

Barresi felt the whole thing was a misunderstanding. Senator Jerry Ellis believes this situation out of his district should have never reached this level.

"Shouldn't have wasted time on this. Just crazy. Totally uncalled for. She needs to resign just like I said. Get her (Barresi) out of here," said Sen. Jerry Ellis.

Barresi also mentioned the exemption qualifications are now under review and she hopes each situation will be treated on an individual basis.