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Buffalo teacher union leader outraged at 'Sit & Stare' policy

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

The leader of the Buffalo teachers union is outraged over the Buffalo School District's Sit and Stare policy for students who opted out of state assessments this week. 

Buffalo Teachers Federation president Phil Rumore is calling it "cruel and unusual punishment".  Rumore is calling on the Buffalo School Board to end the Sit and Stare policy as 3rd through 8th graders taking the state's English assessment test this week.

"Students have to sit in the seat with the rest of the students with that test before them, and not be able to go out to another room or to have a book to read in front of them is despicable, " said Rumore.     

Schools superintendent Pamela Brown issued a letter to school principals and assistant principals outlining the policy.  In an interview with WBFO News on Monday, Brown stated that the District must follow state law on the matter.  It forces children, who don't want to take the tests to sit without any books or other information in front of them while other students take the exam.

“We can’t let them get a book and read it. Children are not suppose to have access to different literature or print during the testing, but they will have the test,” said Superintendent Brown.

Rumore said that's not true.

"She is mischaracterizing state law and federal law ," said Rumore.  She state's in her letter that there is no law that allows parents to opted out.  However, there is no law that prevents them from opting out."

There are some other districts that are allowing students to go to the school library if the wish to opt out.   Rumore says Buffalo Teachers have adopted a resolution against Sit and Stare.

The state assessments started Tuesday and continue this week for elementary school students across the state.