Mother says one bad test negated child's passing grades

A family says they're furious after learning just two weeks before school starts that their daughter will be held back.

DeKALB COUNTY, Ga. -- A family says they're furious after learning just two weeks before school starts that their daughter will be held back.

"I don't want them to place my child in a grade based off of one test - just one test," Iona Gibson said.

The reason she's staying in middle school instead of going to high school: She failed the math portion of the Milestones test - despite passing all of her classes.

Now, 11Alive is holding the powerful accountable in DeKalb County to see if more could have been done to alert the family sooner.

Latrina Boone was supposed to have graduated from Lithonia Middle School this spring. She was a good student who did her homework and passed her classes. But her mom said that because of one test - that she just learned about a week ago - the school system is trying to hold her back.

All year long, Latrina Boone brought home a report card with As, Bs, and Cs. But a week before starting high school, she got a letter with disheartening news.

"Your child Latrina did not pass the 8th-grade end of grade reading and or mathematics retest that was administered in June 2017," Boone read.

The letter goes on to say the placement committee made a "unanimous decision to retain Latrina at 8th Grade for the 2017-2018 school year."

They got the news on July 27 - just 11 days before the first day of school.

"A week before school, this is very off-guard," Gibson said. "It's not like I don't do nothing. I was thinking she was going into the ninth grade until a week ago."

Gibson said her daughter is a quiet girl who has struggled a little in math. She brought home a 76 and a 79 in the class this past year - but she passed. And her mom said her teachers said she did well in school.

"When we were in the meeting the lady even said Latrina is a good student," Gibson said. "She works well with others. She does her work. She does her homework. She said she's a bad test-taker."

In Georgia, one test defines it all. Just like in the letter, the rule is that "no 8th-grade student shall be promoted to 9th grade if the student does not achieve grade level" in reading or math.

"I'm not a bad student," Boone said. "I don't do what other kids do and what's affected me the most is that they passing children that skip in the hallway that curse at the teacher - yelled at the teacher."

The family knew soon after school ended that Latrina would have to retake the test during summer school. That happened at the end of June. They also appealed the decision to hold her back but it was denied.

"I'm the parent and I have to sit here and listen to her cry and go on and that's hurtful for me because I didn't do anything about it because the school didn't do anything about it," Gibson said.

Gibson said she knows her daughter has to be registered somewhere but with school starting on Monday, that doesn't leave much time.

© 2017 WXIA-TV


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