Mom upset over CRCT - CBS46 News

Mom upset over CRCT

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When it comes to your kids, who's in charge? You, or your child's school? That's the battle a Forsyth County mom faces.

Stacy Wheeler's son attends North Forsyth Middle School. Justin Wheeler, 14, has autism, sensory processing disorder and verbal apraxia. Half of his classes are in the special needs classroom.

When Justin Wheeler's classmates began taking the CRCT, a standardized state test, last week, Stacy Wheeler told the school she did not want her son participating. She fears high-stakes testing could hurt her son.

"We need to keep him as calm as possible, so he can focus on the task at hand, and we don't think it's appropriate for him," she said.

However, Jennifer Caracciolo, a spokesperson for Forsyth County Schools, said the law dictates all Georgia students, special needs or not, receiving testing.

"There is no opting out under state and federal law," said Caracciolo. "Since he declined the opportunity to take four of the five tests, than that impacts whether or not he'll advance to ninth grade."

Caracciolo said the school had been working with the Wheeler family to provide Justin the proper testing environment. A committee will now have to consider whether Justin is allowed to advance to the next grade.

Stacy Wheeler said the school principal told her the only way her son would get out of the test is withdrawal from school. She said that is not an option.

"He needs the services, and social skills, and to be around other kids."

"It's (the CRCT is) not used to improve the students' education. It's used to improve how the teachers teach the next year's class, so it's not going to benefit my son," argued Stacy Wheeler. "They need to recognize our rights as Justin's parents trump whatever their Georgia state law is."

Stacy Wheeler said she has filed complaints with the ACLU as well as with the Georgia Board of Education. She is also talking to several attorneys, although she hasn't hired anyone.

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