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Parents Shocked by Letter from Principal

SEARCY, AR -- "It's not fair. It's not fair to these kids that have been working hard all year long..."
SEARCY, AR -- Some Searcy parents say they were caught off guard when they received letters stating their kids must attend summer school or they would not move on to the next grade.

At the core of this is the Arkansas Benchmark Assessment testing. We spoke to one parent who says her son passed the 7th grade.

But, she says weeks after school let out, the Ahlf Junior High principal sent a letter stating because her son failed benchmark testing in literature and science, he must go to summer school or be held back.

The mother, who didn't want to be identified, said it's new to her that her son failed the tests, let alone that he would now be required to go back to school in a few weeks.

She said, "It's not fair. It's not fair to these kids that have been working hard all year long and don't pass the benchmark and they have to be threatened with retainment."

We did talk to the school's superintendent and she said parents got phone calls today letting them know if their children can't go to summer classes, there will be other programs offered during the new school year.

But that's not what was stated in a letter sent to parents in June. To clear things up, we did ask the Searcy superintendent for an on-camera interview and she declined saying she doesn't know enough about the topic.

We then asked if we could talk to someone who does, and that didn't happen either.

By law, students grades third through eighth who fail must take part in an academic improvement plan to move on to the next grade.

Parents say that's not the issue, they're just upset with the way Searcy Schools handled it, by sending a last-minute letter, to parents who had no idea their kids even failed benchmark testing.

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