Here is a repost with permission from Lourdes Perez Ramirez a new friend and the founder and CEO of HispanEduca – a wonderful non-profit organization “empowering Hispanics/Latinos with access to education policy and reform so they (we) can impact and shape it!”
He followed every single instruction he had been given to refuse his computer-based tests scheduled for today.
He clicked SUBMIT without having answered a single test item. He raised his hand, very politely, and his teacher knew the student had finished before his classmates because he and his mom had decided to refuse.
His wonderful, Hispanic mom, who has two jobs every single day of the week, could not pick him up and keep him away from school for more than an hour, and then come back for the rest of the school day. Missing a few hours of her job would be the difference between paying the rent or being evicted.
After HispanEduca and the mom handed the principal a test-refusal letter, the school agreed, and the mom authorized for the child to spend the rest of the testing period at the school’s office.
There he was, doing some homework, when an office employee of this Orange County middle school approached the boy and threatened him saying that “he had to take the test because it was mandatory and if he didn’t he would be affected!”
But this 8th grade boy had been instructed, kept informed for more than a year, of what was going to happen today; what to say and do and the importance of respecting his elders no matter what. And respect he did, when he told the lady”
“I know what I am doing; you are wrong, I will not be affected, and my mom supports me. I am a good student. Do you want me to call the organization who is supporting me and my mom so they can tell you that what I am doing is my right?”
The old lady shut up and went back to her desk. She didn’t say another word, and the boy went back to his homework. He felt empowered! He knew there were responsible adults behind him, working on his behalf and his right to have the same education opportunities that non-Hispanic children have.
Does school staff know; have they been informed this is illegal?
Maybe not. But keeping an 8th grader informed of what is going on, makes it even more satisfactory because we are also educating these wonderful children on civil rights issues. Even if they are residents with a visa. They too have rights. These children have rights and we have to make sure they feel protected and supported.
Kudos for this boy! We know there must be many more out there!
And Kudos to you Lourdes, and your organization HispanEduca, for helping Hispanic families learn of their rights and find their voice and power in the age of abusive school reforms.