Dozens of parents of students attending the Dr. Lydia T. Wright School #89 in Buffalo are outraged their children are not graduating on its moving-up day Wednesday.
At an emergency news conference held outside the school, early Tuesday evening parent advocates and some school parents called on the district to allow their children to participate.
Initially, the school said it would only be graduating eight of its 65 eighth-graders but later said 17 would be allowed to be part of moving up day.
Aymanuel Radford is with ‘We The Parents’. He says parents were told Tuesday their child failed class or classes and was not allowed to graduate. Radford also said the Wright School has a high suspension rate among the eighth-grade class.
"At Dr. Lydia T. Wright, the highest suspended grade level is 8th grade. They suspend 35% of the 8th graders, it's only 65 students and they suspend 35% of the 8th graders," Radford remarked.
Radford points to a rough school year and a number of issues that put students behind.
“We were the last school district to come back to school, we have a huge busing problem where to this day, at the end of the school year, students are not being picked up and are being dropped off late," explained Radford.
The parent advocates also said there was a lack of after-school programming and that’s why students are struggling with class work.
Some parents say the school was not transparent about their child’s failing grades.
“Nobody called. Nobody texted me. Nobody told me anything, so I didn't know he still had math work to complete,” declared Lakiesha Seales. “Where was the concern for the kid when you got a 50 after a 50 after another 50 — parent comes in and you still have yet to email, text, or call the parent."
‘We The Parents’ group says they are also calling for an investigation into the high rate of suspensions among the 8th graders.
Parent Michelle Robinson says the school failed her son.
“Now he needs math, science, and social studies. I’m supposed to get this entire book of 180-something pages done with him in two days in order for him to pass the math part and then we still have to do the social studies and the science. That is not something we are going to be to accomplish,” stated Robinson.
But it’s important to note the district has a web portal for parents to access and track their children’s work.
The city school district leaders say they spoke to Wright School's principal late Tuesday afternoon.
The district says it has been providing opportunities for students to catch up on learning and issued this statement:
“The Interim Superintendent is aware of the situation at the Lydia T. Wright School #89 and has consulted with the Associate of School Leadership and the school building’s principal late this afternoon.
We know and appreciate that an 8th-grade completion and participation in a Moving Up ceremony is a milestone for the students and parents/caregivers. With that in mind, the Principal has been providing learning opportunities throughout the year for students to catch up on their work and has shared that all academic concerns have been communicated with the students’ parents throughout the year. The Principal is reaching out to affected families to discuss how to proceed.”
Buffalo Public School District