Hampton parent angered by letter saying “White Students” didn’t meet SOL requirements

Posted at 7:45 PM, Nov 14, 2014
and last updated 2014-11-15 06:06:31-05

Hampton, Va. - It was one sentence in a letter sent home from Smith Elementary School in Hampton that took a parent by surprise, stating "White Students" didn't meet last year's reading requirements on the SOLs.

(Click here to read the letter)

"The kids brought it home. My boyfriend was like, 'Wait a minute. White kids? White students?' I was like 'What wait?' I have never seen anything like that before in my life.

Cheriss Pisani didn't understand.

"It just mind boggles me because someone signed off from this letter. It came from the principal and I was like, 'Okay they think this is acceptable,' and it`s not. Not to me and it never will be," she added.

NewsChannel 3 took action and asked Hampton City Schools what they meant by singling out "White Students".

Turns out it's federal law.

A spokesperson explained in an e-mail saying:

"Hampton City Schools follows federal guidelines that specify that parents must be notified of the school's identification as a Title I school that has missed one or more annual measurable objectives.  The two specific objectives were ones that were not met by Smith Elementary."

That was also explained in the letter Pisani got and according to the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), the objectives have been organized by subgroups since 2011. Separating students by race, language and economic status.

Pisani says it's not right.

"What are they teaching the kids in school? Are they segregating them? Whites? Blacks? I just didn`t like it one bit," Pisani said. "I understand it's done by the federal whatever, I just wish there was a better way to word it moving forward."

NewsChannel 3 asked if the school could have worded the letter differently, the spokesperson said the letter was divided into those subgroups as recommended by the VDOE.