Johnston County father won't allow son to take standardized tests in school

Posted December 3, 2020 4:51 p.m. EST
Updated December 3, 2020 5:57 p.m. EST

— A Johnston County father says he will not let his son take standardized tests at school.

Allen Brown's son, also named Allen Brown, is completing all of his coursework remotely. He is a freshman at West Johnston High School in Benson.

One of six children, all have stayed at home since the pandemic began. Brown said the last time any of them had left the property was March 9.

Brown said he went to both the principal and the superintendent’s office about the issue. The exams make up at least 20 percent of the student's grade.

“I said I would even bring him to the school in my personal vehicle,” Brown said. “I could set the computer there and let y'all monitor him from the truck, but he's not physically coming up there."

Citing federal mandates, the State Department of Public Instruction said the exams must be taken in person for security reasons.

Nathanael Shelton, a spokesperson for the school district, wrote in a statement that Brown would have to take the test in school and that safety protocols will be enforced.

Shelton also wrote if the exam is missed, there is a chance for students to make it up later in the year. Until then, the class is marked as an incomplete.

"Right now, to me, that's putting a stain on his record," Brown said. "Incomplete is incomplete."

State Board of Education members said they would be looking into ways to keep kids from physically coming to schools, including seeking a federal waiver from the requirement that 95 percent of students have to take the tests.

The board has also said that exams should proceed, even if kids opt out of taking them until later in the year.

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