A parent was shocked to learn her children's elementary school used the term “White Students” in an official letter.
The letter stated that “White Students” did not meet last year’s reading requirements on the Standards of Learning (SOLs) exam.
When Cheriss Pasini read the letter, she and her boyfriend were upset to see the school used the term “White Students.”
“The kids brought it home. My boyfriend was like, ‘Wait a minute. White kids? White students?’ I was like ‘What wait?’ I have never seen anything like that before in my life,” Pasini said.
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“It just mind boggles me because someone signed off from this letter. It came from the principal and I was like, ‘Okay they think this is acceptable,’ and it`s not. Not to me and it never will be,” she added.
While Pasini takes offense with the use of “White Students,” the school did not do anything wrong.
NewsChannel 3 contacted Hampton City Schools wanting to know why they were singling out “White Students.”
The response they received was surprising: It is federal law.
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“Hampton City Schools follows federal guidelines that specify that parents must be notified of the school’s identification as a Title I school that has missed one or more annual measurable objectives,” a spokesperson for Hampton City Schools explained in an email. “The two specific objectives were ones that were not met by Smith Elementary.”
Pasini received the same explanation in a letter and according to the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), the objectives have been placed into subgroups since 2011. Students are separated by race, language, and economic status.
Even though it is federal law, Pasini does not think it is right.
“What are they teaching the kids in school? Are they segregating them? Whites? Blacks? I just didn't like it one bit,” Pasini said. “I understand it’s done by the federal whatever, I just wish there was a better way to word it moving forward.”
The school district stands behind the use of “White Students” in the letter as they were following VDOE recommendations.