Students and parents protest failing grades at Ovid-Elsie High School

Published: Oct. 20, 2020 at 7:09 PM EDT
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SHIAWASSEE COUNTY, Mich. (WJRT) - Students and parents at Ovid-Elsie High School are saying enough is enough.

They’re pushing the administration at Ovid-Elsie Area Schools to re-evaluate class workloads after some students say they’ve spent 12 hours a day doing assignments for classes, leading to dozens of failing grades. Parents and students feel so strongly about the need for change, they took to the high school parking lot to peacefully demonstrate.

“We’re given several assignments a day that take a long time, and we’re not being taught how to do them, so we’re putting hours and hours into googling answers and it’s really hard," said high school senior Bailey Mayville.

She, other students and parents took to the high school parking lot Tuesday to peacefully demonstrate that what is happening is not OK.

“We’re obviously asking for a lesser workload for the kids, because it’s just too much," said Bonnie Goupil, who is Mayville’s mother. "We can’t have kids working 12 hours a day. They’re kids.”

The failure rate in the district was the highest the superintendent has ever seen just a couple weeks ago. More than 270 students were failing at least one class at Ovid-Elsie High School and many of them normally are A or B students.

One parent said the failing grades and high workload are causing students to feel anxious, depressed, even suicidal.

“Students don’t know how to deal with what life is throwing them with this whole COVID thing, with the anxiety and the depression, the feeling of failure," said parent Heather Teelander.

Ovid-Elsie Superintendent Ryan Cunningham said the concerns raised by parents are “alarming” and administrators don’t want to see students placed in unhealthy situations. He said administrators are aware of the mental health concerns and high workload for students.

Just in the last few days, parents and students have made a list of their top concerns that need to be addressed.

“We’re taking all this feedback, and very good, legit feedback from students and parents and we’re going to use it moving forward to make things better," Cunningham said.

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