Judge Says Hernando Broke the Law and Injured Three Chocachatti Students, Parent’s Reaction
HERNANDO – Three Chocachatti Elementary honor roll students will not join their fourth grade class, despite a ruling from a Leon County Judge last week who said the Hernando County School District broke the law, harmed the children, and ordered their immediate promotion.
The controversy began earlier this year, when fourteen children across the state were held back due to opting out of the Florida Standard Assessment (FSA) test. Attorney Andrea Mogensen filed a lawsuit against 7 school districts and the Department of Education on behalf of the plaintiffs. ORIGINAL STORY
Last Friday Judge Karen Gievers ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and stated that the combined conduct of County School Boards and Florida Department of Education caused injury to the children. She further states that as long as the children are retained the injury will continue.
Gievers ordered that Hernando County “Immediately follow the law” but the district filed an appeal and are standing by their decision to remove the students from Chocachatti.
Moments after receiving the devastating news from Principal, Lara Silva, we met the parents and their daughters to find out what they had to say about the decision.
Melinda Hohman says when she and the other parents finally met with Silva, she seemed to be unaware of the Judge’s ruling and had to “make a few phone calls” before giving them the bad news.
Brandy Kinkade says they were all told by Silva to take their children to the school they are zoned for because “they are not coming here.”
Pam Everett says Superintendent Dr. Lori Romano is “not doing what is best for the kids… It’s what’s best for her.” Everett goes on to say Romano’s decision is “a political one” and questions why she would hold three honor roll students back, knowing that she is breaking the law in doing so.
We contacted School Board Members Mark Johnson and Gus Guadagnino but both said they would not be allowed to comment at this time. Guadagnino says he may be able to comment in a few days.
Attempts to contact Dr. Romano have gone unanswered.
Madelynn Kinkade, Hailey Everett, and Maddison Hohman held their honor roll certificates high during the interview and they remain hopeful that they will soon join their fourth grade class.
We will bring more on this story as it develops.
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