Group Behind Vetoed Testing Opt-Out Bill Is Not Giving Up

In this photo taken Jan. 17, 2016, a sign is seen at the entrance to a hall for a college test preparation class at Holton Arms School. The current version of the SAT college entrance exam is having its final run, when thousands of students nationwide will sit, squirm or stress through the nearly four-hour reading, writing and math test. A new revamped version debuts in March. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Credit Alex Brandon / Associated Press
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Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed nine bills this week. Among them was legislation that would’ve let students opt-out of state tests without consequences. In a statement, the governor said House Bill 425 isn’t needed because kids can withdraw from testing under current law.

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But Meg Norris, a teacher and parent, said kids who opt out are often punished.

“Lots of districts have forced kids to literally sit and do nothing in a classroom – stare at a wall – while their peers were testing,” she said.

Norris said the bill, which she helped write, would make it illegal to punish kids for opting out. She said she’s heard stories of children being denied post-testing snacks if they opted out.

“Parents can always, always say no, and what the veto of this bill did was basically allow bullying of parents and their kids who say no,” Norris said.

The bill would also let kids take pencil-and-paper versions of the test, if requested.

Norris founded a group called “Opt Out Georgia,” which backed a similar bill last year. The governor vetoed that too. Nonetheless, Norris says she’ll be back next year to fight for new legislation.