Florida Elementary School Removes Black Students From Class For Covert Assembly on Low Test Scores

In the presentation, students were encouraged to compete against their peers in hopes of winning a fast food meal.

A school in Florida is under fire for allegedly targeting Black students in an attempt to improve grades.

On Friday (August 18) Black fourth and fifth grade students at Bunnell Elementary in Flager County, Florida were removed from their classes for an assembly aimed at cultivating better standardized test scores. But according to The Daytona Beach News-Journal, these students were only pulled from their classes because of their race, not their grades, as confirmed by Flagler Schools spokesperson, Jason Wheeler.

According to Wheeler, the presentation was facilitated by two Black teachers, and an in-school suspension supervisor were among the attendees. Wheeler also confirmed that parents were not communicated about the assembly, which raised eyebrows for some parents.

“They contact us at least three times a week,” said Danielle Brown, a parent of a fourth-grader at the school. “This is the one time that they haven’t. They could have sent something out before. They could have even sent something out after … but they never sent a text, a phone call, and email – nothing.”

Brown also said she believed this assembly was a form of “segregation.”

“My daughter is 9 years old, and I feel like them doing all of this is just a huge step backwards in the wrong direction.”

During the presentation, students were told “The Problem” was that “African American” students had “underperformed” on standardized assessments over the past three years. Other areas of concern cited that 32% of the students were at a Level 3 or higher for ELA/Math, when they are “supposed to have at least 41%.”

Of their findings, “The Solution” imposed by the school was for each student to “commit to earning at least a Level 3 or higher on all standardized assessments.” Additionally, the solution cited each student to make at least a 75% in all areas of their curriculum.

The presentation concluded with the school’s “F.A.S.T. Challenge” which has many parents outraged. In the challenge, students are encouraged to “matchup” against their peers to win a meal from McDonalds.

“I just feel like you are kind of setting her up to be in a situation to become a victim of bullying,” said Brown.

On Tuesday (August 22), Flagler Interim Superintendent LaShakia Moore addressed the controversy surrounding the assembly in a statement, while condemning actions to not include parents in the process.

“We want our parents and guardians to actively participate in their children's educational successes. Without informing them of this assembly or of the plans to raise these scores, our parents were not properly engaged."

She added, “However, sometimes, when you try to think 'outside the box,' you forget why the box is there.” She also committed to work with the school’s principal, Donelle Evensen, to explore issues surrounding the presentation.

"That said, from this point forward, all of our schools will engage our parents, no matter what group or subgroup their children may be in, in our continued efforts to raise achievement among all students."

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