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      Parent movement to opt students out of taking STAAR

      There's a movement across Texas of parents who are choosing to opt their students out of taking the STAAR test. The rigorous test has been hotly debated since the STAAR was implemented two years ago. But now, parents say they're standing up against that rigor.

      Opponents of the test say that an unhealthy focus is being placed on the test scores. It's unhealthy for students and the teachers.

      "They are bullying our children. I feel like they're setting them up for failure. They're doing so much preparation and sending them home with so much work and the children come home and my oldest comes home feeling like she's a failure," said concerned parent, Lynz Loomis

      Loomis is a parent to a Canyon Independent School District 5th grader. She is like hundreds of parents across the state, concerned over the testing implemented in our schools.

      However, those in favor of the test said STAAR holds school districts accountable, and have actually driven improvements in test scores and education.

      But can parents have their student opted out of taking the STAAR? According the Education Code, no.

      "Section 26 of the Education Code says very clearly that a parent is not entitled to remove a child from a class to avoid a test. So the law is very clear on this issue parents are not allowed to opt a child out of a test.," said Texas Education Agency spokeswoman, Lauren Callahan.

      "I feel like when I called the school and I voiced my concerns they said she's going to be punished and to reprimand my child for asking for help that's violating her rights," said Loomis.

      According to the TEA, the consequence a child will face is they'll be held back a grade. That's because 5th and 8th graders must pass to move on to the next grade. High school students must pass to graduate.

      Canyon ISD said they follow the state law set in that Education Code.

      "We'd have to go back to our requirements at that point. Cause those are important years, those are important years that we test. And we'd have to go back to our requirements," said CISD spokesperson April McDaniel.

      Parents have also expressed concerns that their child's right to a free education is being violated.

      "We have a government that provides a free education. That government does have a right to make that people are getting educated kind of. Not saying that we do a good job of it. But they have the right to give you a test," said Amarillo Civil Rights Attorney, Jeff Blackburn.

      Loomis said many parents agree, a new testing system needs to be implemented.

      "I think we need to come up with some more viable options and solutions for the testing standards."

      STAAR testing happens Tuesday and Wednesday. For Loomis, she said her daugther will walk in to test, and simply sign on the test that she's opting out of taking it.

      Meantime, there is a rally being held at Southwest Park at 7:00 p.m. Monday night in support of the opt out movement.