Tiffany France, the mother of the failing student, thought her son would be receiving his diploma from Augusta Fells Savage Institute of Visual Arts in June. However, she was surprised to discover that he is being sent back to the ninth grade to start over.
“He’s stressed, and I am, too. I told him I’m probably going to start crying,” France told FOX 45 Baltimore.
France expressed frustration with the school, asking why her son would have to complete three more years of high school after “the school failed him.”
France’s son failed 22 classes and was late or absent 272 days over his first three years of high school. Only one teacher requested a parent-teacher conference, but France said that didn’t happen. Despite this, her son still ranked 62nd in his class out of 120 total students.
“The school failed at their job. They failed. They failed, that’s the problem here. They failed. They failed. He didn’t deserve that,” she said.
FOX 45 found that hundreds of students are flunking classes at the Augusta Fells Savage Institute of Visual Arts in west Baltimore.
France says she has three children and works three jobs, and didn’t realize her son was failing until February. Even though he was failing classes, the school continued to promote him; after failing Spanish I and Algebra I, for example, the school still allowed him to take Spanish II and Algebra II.
“I’m just assuming that if you are passing, that you have the proper things to go to the next grade and the right grades, you have the right credits,” France told FOX 45.
She continued: “I feel like they never gave my son an opportunity, like if there was an issue with him, not advancing or not progressing, that they should have contacted me first, three years ago.”
Augusta Fells did not immediately respond to an inquiry from Fox News. An administrator for Baltimore City Public Schools who spoke on the condition on anonymity told FOX 45’s investigative team that the high school did fail France’s son.
“I get angry. There’s nothing but frustration. We see on the news the crime that occurs, the murders, the shootings, we know that there are high levels of poverty in Baltimore,” the administrator said. “Things like this are adding to that. His transcript is not unusual to me. I’ve seen many transcripts, many report cards, like this particular student.”
The school district sent a two-page statement to FOX 45 saying students had received letters in the mail informing them of their academic status over the summer and that parents receive automated voice messages when students miss class. The district also said it conducts home visits to check in on students, but France said no one checked in on her son.
“City Schools is reviewing actions that impacted student outcomes at the Augusta Fells Savage Institute of Visual Arts before the 2020-2021 school year,” the statement reads.
France pulled her son out of the school, and he is currently enrolled in an accelerated program that could allow him to graduate in 2023.