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Appeals filed by third graders in the face of Tennessee's retention law answered by Memphis-Shelby County Schools

"A third grader wanted to commit suicide because he or she didn't want to repeat the third grade ... Stress like that should not be on a third grader."

Students who failed the TCAP reading test under the state's new third grade retention law have a lifeline.

The law affects 60 percent of the state's third graders with 75 percent in Memphis-Shelby County Schools.

Appeals filed by parents are starting to come back, and it's looking like a lot of those kids will get to move onto the fourth grade after all.

It sounds like the state is trying to take into account some kids — not all — are proficient. Many just didn't test very well.

that has to be welcome news to Lauren Lee, whose third grade son Anders is one of many Tennessee students who did not pass the standardized test the first two times he took it. 

"One test on one day is all they cared about," Lee said.

Still, Anders was able to get his appeal granted and Lee said that he will be moving onto fourth grade —  a huge relief as Lee said the process hasn't been easy. 

"When i tell you the pressure these kids are under — My son was sick to his stomach in bed with anxiety when he found out he didn't pass the first time," she said.

It's a feeling many other Tennessee parents in this newly created Facebook group "Amend TCA" can relate to. 

Danette stokes is President of the United Education Association of Shelby County. 

"They are academically successful," Stokes said. "They are not non-readers — they can read."

 She said it's unfair to base such an important decision — advancing one school grade — on one end of the school year test.

"A third grader wanted to commit suicide because he or she didn't want to repeat the third grade," Stokes said. "Stress like that should not be on a third grader. It shouldn't be on anyone." 

As for Lee's message to parents of kids who will eventually need to repeat the third grade, she told them to fight back with lawmakers. 

"Contact your legislator and tell them to change this law," Lee said. "Tell them to not base your child's entire academic future off of one test." 

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