The Main Stream

May 25, 2012 9:02 PM

Students kept from walking at graduation

TUCSON - It is a week of graduations for high school students all across the state.

Friday, students had their big night, but not all of them.

Some are being left out, and they are fighting back.

Nythzia Machado said she just wants this once in a lifetime opportunity to walk with her friends on graduation day.

"And they're not letting me," she said in tears.

Machado is a star athlete, gets good grades, but failed the math portion of the AIMS test by two points.

"And I know I'm going to take my AIMS again," said Machado.

Without passing her AIMS, Machado cannot receive a diploma and school policy keeps her from walking alongside her schoolmates at graduation.

Machado is heartbroken.

"I just want to have that feeling to know how it feels to walk," said Machado.

Her parents are frustrated.

"I don't think it's fair," said her mom.

They requested to meet with the school board, but their request was declined.

"We just wanted to talk to them. That's all we wanted. That didn't mean to us that they were going to say yes or no," said her mom.

Douglas Unified School district superintendent Sheila Rogers said 14 of the 298 from Machado's class did not pass the AIMS and will not be walking at graduation per school policy.

"We have specific guidelines that are part of board policy that are part of graduation, and that's the reason why the board president decided not to have the meeting," said Rogers. "The state requires it for graduation. The students are given five opportunities to pass."

Douglas High School assistant principal Melissa Rodriguez said the AIMS test keeps getting harder every year, but the school does its best to keep students in check with meetings, tutoring even a special program to help students pass.

The district says those who didn't pass the AIMS test can retake it in October, and if they pass then, the school is looking to hold a ceremony for them in December.

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