Parents in Kentucky who want to opt out have been warned that their children will face severe disciplinary consequences. Some have turned to United Opt Out for help.

This is what UOO says:

“The Kentucky Dept. of Education has stated that schools will not provide alternative activities during testing time. They have stated that students may be subject to discipline under school or district policies including the code of conduct or behavior. Some districts are stating that absences due to test refusal will be considered unexcused.

“Enough is enough. It is time to rise up and refuse these corporate high stakes tests as an act of civil disobedience which is necessary when children are being harmed via unjust laws.

“We emailed Mr. Todd Allen who is the Assistant General Counsel of the Kentucky Department of Education to get further clarification on the potential disciplinary actions.

“We asked:

“We at United Opt Out National have been receiving requests from Kentucky parents asking for support with opt out. We have been told that opt outs may result in disciplinary action. Could you clarify what “disciplinary actions” mean and give examples? We are also wondering, within school codes of conduct, is such disciplinary action for parent refusal of student testing listed – and if so, can you give an example?

“While we recognize that KY ed. statute states that students are required to test we also recognize that a child cannot be forced to test. A child can be given an opportunity to test and can refuse this opportunity with parental guidance. We will be creating a post to support KY parents with opt out/refusal of tests and would like clarification on potential disciplinary actions that might occur so that we can refer our parents to the best avenue of support and share accurate information with our media contacts in Kentucky.

“Mr. Allen responded:

“Thank you for your message. Codes of conduct, behavioral codes and discipline policies are established at the local district and school level. Therefore, parents should contact their individual district/school for any applicable disciplinary actions in the event a student refuses to participate in mandatory testing.

“Our recommendations (this is not legal advice, it is simply suggestions based on our experience with supporting parents across the nation with opt out/test refusal):

“Begin by emailing your opt out letter to your child’s principal and state that you are refusing the test for your child.

“If you plan to keep your child at school during testing time state that you will be sending your child with books and other activities during testing time. Get confirmation of where your child will be during testing time and make certain that your child is allowed to have the alternative activities with him or her in this location (some schools are keeping students in the testing room, others are finding other places for the opt out students). If you feel it is necessary, go to school with your child on the first testing day to physically observe that your opt out/refusal request has been accepted and that your child is in a safe place where he or she can engage in alternative activities.

“If you plan to keep your child at home during testing time state that you will expect these absences to be excused because there is no learning occurring in the school and your child has been denied a right to a public education during these testing days. State that if your child’s absence is counted as unexcused that you will recognize this as a violation of your First Amendment rights and your parental rights. State that you will be filing a civil rights complaint and that you will contact the media and an attorney. Also state that your child is not to be tested during makeup testing when your child returns to school.

“Request (or look it up online now) a copy of the behavior codes/disciplinary policy and ask for the exact code which states disciplinary action for a child as a result of a parent’s decision to refuse to allow a child to be tested. If they give you an exact code which does state a disciplinary action we recommend reporting this to social services and the police as a form of harassment and bullying and ask them to investigate this disciplinary policy. Contact your school board and your superintendent as well. Let the school know you are reporting this information and state that under no circumstances is your child to be disciplined for parent refusal of testing.

“If your child is indeed at school during testing time make sure your child has your parent refusal letter on his/her body at all times. Make certain that your child knows to hand the letter to anyone who attempts to place a test in front of the child. The letter must also state that if anyone attempts to test your child, your child is expected to call you, the parent or guardian, immediately. State that if your child is forced to test you will call the police, social services and the media. These high stakes corporate tests are educational malpractice. Our children are being forced to labor for the corporations in our public schools today. If we do not stop this test and punish system quickly, more children will be failed, more schools will be shut down and the cornerstone of our democracy, public schools, will soon be gone…..

“Ultimately, remember this – by refusing these tests, we are saving public schools, saving the teaching profession and reclaiming real learning for our children. Opt out/test refusal is just the first step in taking down corporate education reform. All children deserve a whole education in equitably funded public schools. Exercise your right to speak up, opt out and join the revolution that is occurring across the country. We stand with you.”

Read the post to learn how to file a civil rights complaint on behalf of your child.