SHREWSBURY - The parents of a group of elementary school children who opted out of taking the PARCC test say that the students were forced to “sit and stare” in a room while testing was ongoing.
Shrewsbury fourth-grader Samantha Hayes that the she thought that she was being punished when she was taken to the main office of the school while her classmates took the controversial exam.
“We had to sit with our knees fully together, put our arms on our lap and we couldn’t lean back,” she says.
Samantha’s mother Jessica Hayes says that the children weren’t allowed to even read, and had to stare at the window during the two-hour testing period last Thursday.
"It was punishment…they didn’t do anything to deserve this,” she says.
The school superintendent tells News 12 New Jersey that technical difficulties pushed the testing to the afternoon instead of the morning. If the test had taken place in the morning, the students who opted out would have been able to stay home during the morning testing.
The Shrewsbury School District informed parents in advance that students opting out of the test would not have a teaching staff during the test times, but they would be supervised.
Jessica Hayes says that she feels the district was just being spiteful.
"It wasn't right. If you have a problem with parents not having their kids take the test that's fine, but don't take it out on kids,” she says.
Some organizations fighting PARCC testing say that tactics like this are being used throughout the country to pressure parents to conform.
However, the superintendent denies that claim and says that some parents and organizations are using this as an opportunity to voice their unhappiness for the educational policy. The superintendent also says that the district has no control over the PARCC test because it is state mandated.