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Parents claim school applied Florida law unfairly

A lawyer representing parents from seven counties in a lawsuit against the Department of Education wants schools to consider factors other than a score on the Florida Standards Assessment before holding children back from fourth grade. She explained that the law already grants parents the right to ask schools to use other determining factors, but students in Hernando County were not given that option. She hopes that the lawsuit will establish fair and consistent interpretations of the law among all school districts.

The parents want the appellate court to provide emergency relief to students that could be forced by their schools to repeat third grade. According to court filings, the parents assert that the law does not require a passing test score for advancement. A lawyer for the Department of Education insists that the department does not compel school districts to hold back students that do not take the tests.

Currently, the case is before the 1st District Court of Appeal, but questions asked by the panel of judges appear to show an inclination for siding with the state. One judge said the parents had encouraged their children to break the law by telling them not to take the reading exam.

When a parent or student becomes embroiled in a dispute with an educational institution, an attorney could provide insights about legal rights. A school might not be forthcoming with information about education law, but an attorney could explain how the law could apply to access to instruction, disciplinary matters, tuition or misuse of technology.

Source: Tampa Bay Times, "Judges question parent positions in challenge to Florida's third-grade retention law", Jeffrey Solocheck, Feb. 7, 2017

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