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Florida Parent Calls Police to Settle Opt-Out Dispute

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A recent dispute at a Winter Park, Fla., elementary school demonstrates why standardized test refusal policies and procedures should be clarified for parents and school staff alike.

The Orlando Sentinel reports that parent Jacqui Myers, who is a local opt-out advocate, called 911 on March 3 after another parent was initially barred from picking up her 5th grader at Brookshire Elementary School. The 5th grader was refusing to take the state's writing assessment. Myers, who has a 1st grader attending Brookshire, told the Sentinel that she was waiting outside the school to assist any parents who wanted their children to opt out of testing that day. 

Shari Bobinski, an Orange County School District spokeswoman, told the newspaper that the school denied the mother's request because testing was already underway. The school's principal had notified parents by email that students would not be allowed to leave the classroom once testing began to avoid disrupting their classmates. The child was released to the parent after the school resource officer assigned to the school arrived on campus in response to the 911 call. 

The Education Commission of the States released a report last week examining which states have laws prohibiting or allowing parents the right to opt their children out of state assessments. The commission found that many states lack any test refusal guidance or policies.

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