- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A 13-year-old girl in New York believes she was suspended from school last week after she was reprimanded for telling several students that they had freedom to opt out of Common Core testing.

Seirra Olivero, an eighth-grader at Orange-Ulster BOCES in Goshen, was suspended for two days for insubordination, the Times Herald-Record reported.

Seirra filed a complaint under the state’s Dignity for All Students Act, which said that on Tuesday, the day of the English test, she told several students over the course of the day that they didn’t have to take the test if they didn’t want to.

In one instance, a teacher allegedly overheard and told her to “shut my mouth and keep walking.”

Seirra was later called to the principal’s office, who asked why she was telling kids they could opt out and asked if she had researched “both sides” of the issue, the Record reported.

“Then she started to ask other questions and that’s when she started to interrogate me and I felt like I was being treated like a criminal,” she said in her statement, adding that the principal wouldn’t let her call her mother.

That’s when Seirra left the room, slamming the door behind her. She acknowledged that she refused to stop walking down a hall when another administrator demanded she do do. That administrator allegedly told Seirra that if she wanted to tell kids they could opt out to do so outside of school.

“Then I said, ‘I can tell them whatever I want [and] to mind his business’ and he said ‘No, it is his business,’” she said in the complaint.

Superintendent William Hecht said it’s against school policy to discipline students for opting out of Common Core testing, but that Seirra was suspended because she refused to obey school administrators, the Record reported.

Regardless, he said the girl’s complaint is being taken seriously.

Seirra’s mother, Carin Beauchesne, told the newspaper on Thursday that she’s withdrawing her daughter from the school.

“She walked away! She felt she was being treated like a criminal. She’s a 13-year-old girl. What would you do?” she asked.

Common Core has faced tough scrutiny in recent weeks after Indiana became the first state to formally withdraw from the program.

While Common Core creates a set of national standards aimed to ensure that all children are equally prepared as they advance to the next level, the model has been criticized as a “one size fits all” learning tool for kids.

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