NEW YORK — A U.S. history and government exam for New York high school students has been canceled in the wake of the racist shooting at a Buffalo supermarket over concerns that material on the test could “compound student trauma,” education officials said Tuesday.
The state’s Regents exam had been scheduled for June 1, but a review of the content following the May 14 shooting found “the tragedy in Buffalo has created an unexpected and unintended context for the planned assessment,” said Emily DeSantis, a spokesperson for the state Education Department, in a statement.
As a result, she said, “it is not appropriate to administer the exam with a question that could compound the grief and hardship faced by our school communities.”
Ten people, all of them Black, were killed in the Tops Friendly Market when a white 18-year-old opened fire. Three others were injured. Funerals for the victims have been taking place this week.
The department refused to say what the content was, or give any additional information on the question of concern. In a memo sent to school administrators, Commissioner of Education Betty Rosa said it wouldn’t be possible to make a different test or modify the one that had been scheduled.
High school students in New York are required to pass Regents exams in certain subjects in order to get their diplomas. Rosa said in her memo that the department would be asking the Board of Regents to approve a graduation exemption for students who would have been scheduled to take the exam in June and August of this year and January 2023.
Officials said the questions on the exam had been put together more than two years ago, and this version of the test had been expected to first be administered in 2020 but was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
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