State School Superintendent Dr. Tommy Bice is taking issue with school administrators in Henry County who refuse to let a student graduate with his classmates Tuesday night. Aaron Sanders failed the reading portion of his graduation exam. Henry County Superintendent Lesa Knowles claims rules prohibit Aaron from joining fellow classmates at Headland High School in the graduation exercise due to his failing score.
"Our policy says you must meet all the requirements including passing the graduation exam," said Knowles. She said the policy has been in place since 1998 and there will be no changes. "The policy stands," said Knowles during an interview Monday.
However Aaron's mother, Amy Sanders, disagrees. She claims the Henry County Board of Education could still rescind the policy, allowing her son to graduate with others in his Headland High class. She said the school had results of Aaron's graduation test in October, 2011 but didn't notify her until a letter was sent May 12.
Bice seems to indicate Aaron should be allowed to graduate Tuesday. "At this time of the year walking is the most important thing no matter what's in that folder (school record)" he said. "That's why (Alabama is) doing away with the graduation exam because it's such a high stakes test that it can negate everything a student has done," the state superintendent said.
The family may ask a judge to issue a restraining order clearing the way for Aaron to graduate. However, judges usually are reluctant to become involved in such matters.