Parents Continue to Protest GHSGT - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

05/19/03

Parents Continue to Protest GHSGT

Angry parents gathered on the steps of the Savannah-Chatham Board of Education on Bull Street today, saying the Georgia High School Graduation tests are biased and unfair. They also said if their children didn't pass the test, they should at least be allowed to march with their classmates.

"Let our children be allowed to march and in July our children can take the refresher course and retake that part of the test," said concerned parent Carolyn White.

It's up to individual counties to decide if students participate in graduation ceremonies. In Chatham County, that privilege is for those who pass.

"Students who don't meet the requirements shouldn't walk across the stage," said Sam Light, the district's associate superintendent.

But there is some confusion on graduation requirements, since students don't actually receive their diplomas until after the ceremony.

"It is state mandatory that they pass the tests to receive a diploma, graduation is not complete until they receive that diploma," said parent Cynthia Brown. "Therefore, when those kids, all of them, even the ones who have passed the test, march across that stage, they too will not be receiving a diploma, so graduation is not complete for them either."

The board of education disagrees.

"Obviously as these students walk across the stage they have met all their requirements," said Light. "To actually receive that standard piece of paper that is a true diploma might be a printing issue, it's not an issue of them not meeting all their requirements."

As parents pray for a resolution, the chance the board will change its decision is not likely to happen. Students do have several chances to take the test and free weekend tutoring is offered. If you would like a copy of the Georgia High School Graduation test, it's available from the Georgia Department of Education site.

Reported by: Nicole Teigen, nteigen@wtoc.com

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