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Law Firm Reviewing Northville Officials’ Tactics in Investigating Dust-Up Over Tests

Parents said their children felt “manipulated, intimidated and bullied” by school officials looking into allegations they were told to do poorly on standardized tests by two special education teachers who have since resigned.

The Northville Board of Education has asked a law firm to conduct an independent review of district administrators' handling of a dust-up over standardized test scores that led to the resignation of two special education teachers.
The Northville Board of Education has asked a law firm to conduct an independent review of district administrators' handling of a dust-up over standardized test scores that led to the resignation of two special education teachers.

A Northville student who was questioned as part of an investigation into allegations that two special education teachers asked students to do poorly on standardized tests told lawyers looking into the district’s handling of the matter that he felt “scared” and as though he was being interrogated.

The two teachers – Jennifer Warnock and Lynn Traxler – resigned in January after they had been accused of telling students to perform poorly on the NWEA assessment test in the fall and then perform at their abilities in the spring to make the teachers look good.

School officials investigated the situation after the allegations surfaced last fall,using tactics that senior Julian Brace said left him feeling “scared all day,” the Observer & Eccentric reports.

“I felt interrogated,” Brace said of the interview last November. School officials reportedly told the students not to discuss the interviews with their parents or the media.

Mary Roy said she noticed her son was visibly shaken and when she asked him about it, he related that officials “started out by telling him that if he lied to them, which included leaving anything out that may be important, it would be insubordination and could result in anything from calling his parents to expulsion.”

The Northville Board of Education has asked the Beier-Howlett law firm of Bloomfield Hils to conduct an independent review of the situation – a welcome sign to parents that their concerns are being taken seriously.

“We felt validated by them,” said Amy Prevo, a parent of one of the students who was questioned. “We are still skeptical, but it’s a step in the right direction.”

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