School District Uses Loophole to Ignore Judge’s Order, One Student Juggled Between 3rd and 4th Grade
HERNANDO – On Monday RNRF met with three mothers and their daughters in front of Chocachatti Elementary to discuss the outcome of their meeting with Principal Lara Silva. Students Madelynn Kinkade, Hailey Everett, and Maddison Hohman were all denied promotion to the fourth grade, after they opted out of the Florida Standards Assessment test.
Despite all three students being on the honor roll, the Hernando County School Board decided to withdraw them from the award winning magnet school and offered them the opportunity to advance if they go to their zoned school.
The HCSB’s decision goes against what Leon County Circuit Judge Karen Gievers ordered on Friday, when she demanded that Hernando County Immediately promote the children and stop causing them injury. CLICK HERE FOR ORIGINAL STORY
Yesterday, we spoke Amanda Hazard regarding her son Zachary who attends Suncoast Elementary. Turns out, Zachary is another student victim caught in the middle of a juggling act between the 3rd and 4th grade at his school.
Amanda says after receiving word of the Judge’s decision last Friday, she was confident that her son could go to school Monday and join his fourth grade class. Initially, Principal Scott Piesik allowed the promotion and Zachary attended class Monday as a fourth grader. Excited about the news, Zachary even made a sign and held it in front of his school that said “I made it to fourth grade!” But Zachary’s excitement would soon turn to disappointment once again, after his mother delivered the devastating news that he would be going back to 3rd grade the following day.
We contacted HCSB spokesperson Karen Jordan to confirm the reversal and she said “That is not true.” But after presenting Jordan with the letter sent from Principal Piesik, she refused to respond to any more questions.
Below is the letter sent to Amanda by Principal Piesik:
I received a Motion For Stay from the Second Judicial Circuit Court dated
August 26, 2016, with this motion your son will be enrolled in third grade
for the 2016-2017 school year.
Please contact me at your earliest convenience to discuss this matter
352-797-7085, ext. 405
Turns out, the District’s attorneys discovered a possible loophole that would allow and “automatic stay” on the Judge’s order, subsequently overriding her orders based on the pending appeal. The fact that a motion for automatic stay is binding raises even more legal question on its validity without a Judge’s ruling.
Amanda says “all they are doing is harming the children by not obeying the Judge’s order.” Fed up with the District’s noncompliance, Amanda has decided to give up on the school board and has enrolled her son in a private school.
I asked Jordan to explain the “loophole” and why the school refuses to obey the Judge’s order; she replied, “Despite the obvious bias in this statement, I can correct your accusation of applying a “loophole”. When public entities appeal a court’s decision, an AUTOMATIC stay is triggered. Jordan went on to say “The school district is following the order in a deliberate and proper way.”
Due to the overwhelming response from Hernando County residents over the District’s handling of the FSA situation, RNRF has decided to offer the following poll questions regarding the HCSB’s performance.
[yop_poll id=”5″] [yop_poll id=”6″]
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