BUNNELL, Fla. - Black students at Bunnell Elementary in Florida were singled out, isolated, and forced to attend an assembly about improving their scores on standardized tests, parents, Flagler County's interim Superintendent, and Board Chair confirmed to FOX 35.
The fourth- and fifth-grade students were pulled out of class on Friday and told to go to the school cafeteria for an assembly, several parents have told FOX 35, where high-performing students were reportedly brought to the front and modeled as examples.
Teachers discussed students' test scores and reportedly touted gift cards to fast-food restaurants as possible rewards for improving test scores, some parents told FOX 35.
Flagler County Schools board chair Cheryl Massaro told FOX 35 that Black students were "isolated" for the assembly. She said the assembly should not have happened, but admits, "it did."
Cheryl Massaro, Flagler County School District Board Chair
Flagler County Schools confirmed in a statement to FOX 35 that such an assembly took place, but insisted "there was no malice intended."
"Sometimes, when you try to think "outside of the box," you forget why the box is there," Interim Superintendent LaShakia Moore said in a written statement.
"While the desire to help this particular subgroup of students is to be commended, how this was done does not meet the expectations we desire among Flagler Schools," Moore said.
Flagler County Schools Interim Superintendent
The parents claim they were not told about the assembly in advance and only learned about it from their children or talking about it with other parents.
Moore confirmed in her statement that parents were not notified of the assembly.
"We want our parents and guardians to actively participate in their children's educational successes. Without informing them of this assembly or of the plans to raise these scores, our parents were not properly engaged," her statement read.
When his 10-year-old 5th grader told him about the assembly, it "made my blood boil," said parent Darryl Williams.
What happens now?
Superintendent Moore said the district is continuing to investigate the situation. She said anyone who has questions should contact Bunnell Elementary's Principal or herself directly.
"From this point forward, all of our schools will engage our parents, no matter what group or subgroup their children may be in, in our continued efforts to raise achievement among all students," the statement read.