Black students were targeted at an in-school assembly to chastise them for their school’s poor standardized test scores.
Students in grades four and five at Bunnell Elementary School were pulled out of class last Friday to attend a lecture in their cafeteria, about the results of standardized tests they’d taken early this months. According to those present, students who had performed well were brought on stage to be used as model examples, while teachers discussed the scores and offered gift cards to anyone who would improve next time.
Dubious as this is, the worst part is this: only Black students were made to attend this assembly. That aspect was confirmed by Cheryl Massaro, the board chair of the Flagler County Schools district. She told the local news that the assembly “should have never happened.”
Interim Superintendent Lashikia Moore issued a statement on the district’s website about her conversation with Bunnell Elementary Principal Donelle Evensen after the assembly.
“In speaking with Mrs. Evensen, it is clear there was no malice intended in planning this student outreach. However, sometimes, when you try to think ‘outside the box,’ you forget why the box is there,” Moore said. “While the desire to help this particular subgroup of students is to be commended, how this was done does not meet the expectations we desire among Flagler Schools.”
She continued, and said the district wants parents and guardians to actively participate in their children’s educational successes, but that parents were not informed of this assembly. Principal Evensen and a teacher have been put on paid leave while this event is being investigated further.
Moore 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.”