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American News May 25, 2022 4:29 AM EST

New York State cancels US History Regents exam because of Buffalo massacre

"It is not appropriate to administer the exam with a question that could compound the grief and hardship faced by our school communities," said a NYS department spokesperson.

New York State cancels US History Regents exam because of Buffalo massacre
Nick Monroe Cleveland, Ohio

The New York State Education Department confirmed on Tuesday that they’ve canceled an upcoming US History and Government Regents exam because their experts found problematic content that could "compound student trauma caused by the recent violence in Buffalo."

On May 14, a self-confessed white supremacist, Payton Gendron, broadcasted a livestream where he allegedly killed ten and injuring three others at a Tops Friendly Market store in Buffalo, New York.

State Education Commissioner Betty Rosa said in a letter that this cancellation came about as school officials wanted to find ways to support students in the wake of the mass shooting in Buffalo. What they settled on was having content experts review the contents of the Regents exam, and they found material that could trigger those taking the test.

Rosa added that it would be impossible to modify the test or usher out a different exam in a timely enough fashion.

5TownsCentral obtained a statement from the New York State Education Department which said, "In the wake of the heinous mass shooting in Buffalo, the Department is taking numerous steps to explore potential areas of support for students and schools across the state. Such actions include having content experts from the Department, in partnership with NYS educators, review all June 2022 Regents Exams, which have already been printed and packaged for shipment to schools. During that review, our experts determined that there is content on the new Regents Examination in United States History and Government (Framework) that has the potential to compound student trauma caused by the recent violence in Buffalo."

"While developed by NYS-certified social studies teachers more than two years ago and field-tested to confirm that the exam’s content is educationally sound, the tragedy in Buffalo has created an unexpected and unintended context for the planned assessment. The Regents Examination in United States History and Government (Framework) was scheduled to be held for the first time on June 1, 2022. The Department planned to administer this examination earlier than other Regents Exams to allow NYS educators to review the content of the exam and a representative sample of student results to make a recommendation for the performance standards (i.e., "cut scores") for this new assessment."

According to the letter, the NYSED will ask the Board of Regents at next month’s meeting to provide exemptions for students who were scheduled to take the exam on June 1st, 2022. "This exemption would likely apply to students who were planning to take the same Regents exam in August or in January 2023," described USA Today.

Exit exams were commonplace in New York as being a requirement for a high school diploma. But this practice changed amid the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic, and cancellations happened as recently as January 2022.

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