Perry student opposes new HCBOE finals policy | Families
A Perry High School rising senior didn't have to take any final exams last semester or the two before that.
That's because a Houston County Board of Education policy allowed students who meet certain grade, discipline, and attendance requirements to skip the finals.
Tuesday night, the board voted unanimously to eliminate that policy.
"I didn't expect it to blow up this big. I honestly only expected like 200 signers," Connor Swem said.
But the Perry High School senior's online petition has already grown well-past that number.
"I didn't think anybody was going to take it as seriously as they have, but now we're sitting at almost 2,000 signers on it," he said.
And before our interview was over, that number inched even higher.
Swem started the petition on Change.org Tuesday night out of frustration.
The Houston County School Board ended its policy allowing students to opt out of final exams... if they met grade and attendance requirements.
His petition gained support on social media and in the comments section of Swem's petition.
Many people shared their dissatisfaction with the decision.
"I've been exempting every single one of my classes and I feel like that's something I deserved, something I earned. For 18 weeks, I maintained an 'A' and it's challenging to do," he said.
The board's policy on final exams has been in place since 1981.
Some parents say they support the exemptions. They say taking it away only punishes students who've already proven they know the material.
Hannah Singleton is a Perry High graduate with two children in Houston County Schools.
She says the board needs to compromise, for example, allowing students to opt out of finals for electives.
"By removing it, it's going to lead to a lot more 89s, it's going to lead to more absences," Singleton said.
It's what Swem hopes all those signatures will prevent.
"Maybe this will change something. Maybe we'll be able to exempt our finals still," he said.
Michelle Masters, assistant superintendent, says the state mandated another assessment, the student learning objectives, and students have to take them.