Flagler Schools criticized for hosting assembly that singled out Black elementary students

FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. — The Flagler County School District is apologizing after parents say an assembly held Friday singled out Black students at Bunnell Elementary School.


The district said they were trying to encourage the group of fourth and fifth graders to perform better on test scores.

Two mothers said their children were told if they didn’t do well on their upcoming tests, they could end up dead or in jail.

The district has not confirmed what, specifically, was said to the students, but did admit the assembly was only for Black students and does not meet district standards.

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One page of a Powerpoint presentation used during the assembly was titled “The Problem,” followed by a bullet point that says “(African Americans) have underperformed on standardized assessment for the last past three years. Only 32% are at Level 3 or higher.”

Other slides offered competitions as solutions and fast-food incentives for students who got their scores up.

Jacinda Arrington and Alexs Smith said not only were their children singled out, parents weren’t warned or given a chance to prepare their children for their conversation.

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“they segregated our kids (in) 2023, and they segregated our babies, these are babies. they still play with action figures and play superheroes,” the parents said.

The school district’s interim superintendent said in a prepared statement:

“It is clear there was no malice intended in planning this student outreach. However, sometimes, when you try to think ‘outside the box,’ you forget why the box is there.”

Arrington and Smith shared an email with Channel 9 they received from their children’s principal apologizing for not including them in the plans.

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“Now we have to overly parent because of something that happened at their safe place, their school,” Smith said.

The district superintendent said she will continue working with the school to find ways to include parents in the future. The principal has offered counseling sessions to students who were impacted by the assembly.

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Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.