Father asks school if son can repeat grade due to inconsistency in virtual learning
A father from North Carolina asks his son’s school if he can repeat grade six due to virtual learning inconsistencies in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Brad Dills said his son Tommy, 12, had done a virtual apprenticeship for the entire school year at Camden County Middle School and “struggled” with it despite creating a place to work online , according to WAVY. Tommy barely made it, and Dills worries about his son’s preparation for seventh grade.
“Virtual learning alone is no reason to retain a student,” said Camden County Schools Principal Dr. Joe Ferrell. News week. “We were at school in person one way or another from October and every student had the opportunity to teach / learn in person.”
Although in-person learning has returned to the school district, Tommy has not returned because Dills’ daughter-in-law has an autoimmune disease, according to WAVY.
“What 12-year-old has the self-discipline and self-control to sit there in a boring Zoom meeting?” Dills says.
“I’m not saying he was done badly, I’m not saying he didn’t have the chance. I’m saying he screwed up; he deserves to repeat the sixth grade,” he said. -he adds. “Not necessarily as a punishment, but because he hasn’t learned what he needs to learn.”
Ferrell said that “principals have the power to make the final decision on promotion and retention in North Carolina.”
This means that it is up to Camden County Middle School Principal Bonita Robinson to decide whether Tommy is selected.
News week contacted Robinson but did not hear back in time for publication.
“It’s rare for a parent to ask for their child to be restrained,” Ferrell said. “It is more common for a parent to request that their child not be restrained.”
He explained that when assessing a student’s retention or promotion, principals consider at a minimum grades, state ratings, local ratings, social and emotional factors, and contribution parents and teachers.
Social and emotional factors involve a student’s age and whether or not the student has been retained before.
“To my knowledge, we only have one student whose parents are requesting that their child be detained this school year,” Ferrell said.
He declined to discuss the details of Tommy’s situation as he can only speak about a student with a parent or legal guardian.
Although Dills has two full-time jobs, he told WAVY he needs to relearn algebra to teach Tommy.
“It was less than successful,” he said.
Math was Tommy’s favorite subject, but it became boring for him because of virtual learning.
“If I was busy doing my job and looking over it, he would be outside of his job,” Dills told WAVY. “If I stayed on him and kept him on task, I’d fall behind. It was just lose / lose, no matter how I did it.”
A CDC study released in March found that “virtual instruction may pose more risk than in-person instruction related to the mental and emotional health of children and parents and certain health-promoting behaviors.”
“Children who are not receiving full-time in-person instruction and their parents may need additional supports to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic,” the study said.