New York’s education department on Tuesday abruptly canceled the US Government and History regents exam — over a question on the test that could be triggering to students after the hate-fueled Buffalo massacre, according to officials and sources.
State Education Commissioner Betty Rosa said in a districtwide memo that the exam — which students had been set to take June 1 — was reviewed by content experts in the aftermath of the mass shooting.
“[They] determined there is content on the new Regents Examination in United States History and Government (Framework) that has the potential to compound student trauma caused by the recent violence in Buffalo,” the department’s spokesperson Emily DeSantis explained in a statement.
“While developed by NYS-certified social studies teachers more than two years ago and field-tested to confirm that the exam’s content is educationally sound, the tragedy in Buffalo has created an unexpected and unintended context for the planned assessment,” the statement said. “In the wake of the Buffalo tragedy, it is not appropriate to administer the exam with a question that could compound the grief and hardship faced by our school communities.”
When asked what specific content the experts found troubling, the department declined to answer, telling The Post to submit a public records request.
Regents exams are statewide standardized tests administered each year in core subjects like math and history that students must take, and pass, in order to graduate.
In 2020, the exams were canceled altogether in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and in January 2021 and January 2022, they were nixed amid winter waves of the virus.
Rosa noted in her memo that it is “not possible” to produce a test with different content or modify the current exam, which has already been printed and packaged for shipment — so they decided to nix it altogether.
During the June 2022 Board of Regents meeting, the department will ask the board to remove the test as a graduation requirement for students slated to take the exam in June, August and January 2023 “due to the technical requirements associated with administering” a new test.
“New York has exceptional school communities that show unwavering dedication to their students,” Rosa concluded in the memo.
“The Department is committed to supporting our students, schools, and communities in the wake of the tragedy in Buffalo. We will work together to ensure that goodness and compassion will always triumph over ignorance and hatred.”
On May 14, avowed white supremacist Payton Gendron allegedly shot and killed 10 people at the Tops Friendly Market in what officials have called a hate-fueled attack that specifically targeted black people.
He has pleaded not guilty to murder charges.