Students at Detroit’s Coleman A. Young Elementary School were threatened with suspension after their parents failed to attend a “mandatory” meeting on an upcoming Common Core test.

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After the parents of multiple students missed the school’s initial meeting, teachers scheduled a follow-up and sent out letters demanding they appear or face the consequences.

Derrick and Latrica Smoak, who spoke with WDIV-TV after receiving the letter, said that they were shocked to see educators making such a threat.

“I was like, ‘Wow, is this a joke?'” Derrick said. “I really couldn’t believe what I was reading.”

The couple argued that they and other parents could not make the weekday meetings given their busy schedules with work.

“I don’t like being threatened in no letter, especially when it comes to my child’s education,” Latrica said. “The way jobs is going these days, you’re not even allowed to take off an hour or two and go up to the school just for a parent meeting.”

District officials denied approving the letters but refused to denounce them, arguing that they merely stressed the importance of the test.

“Neither the meeting nor the comments regarding ‘student suspension’ were made out of ill intent, but rather to express the level of importance of students’ progress as they prepare for the upcoming M-STEP test,” a school representative said.

The Smoaks instead suggested that the school provide parents with options as opposed to blackmail.

“I believe in options,” said Derrick. “Let’s find a date when it can actually work for the parents for the both of them, so they both can be there.”

The newly implemented Common Core Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress (M-STEP) test has already proved to be a controversial topic among parents throughout the state.

Several websites such as “Stop Common Core Michigan” have begun offering opt-out forms that students can use to protest the Common Core Curriculum.

“Opting out and refusing the assessments is gaining momentum as the best way to protect your children’s privacy and to stop Common Core,” the site says. “Stop Common Core in Michigan has made two opt out forms available to notify your child’s school that you do not want your students participating in assessments.”

Similarly, on the national level, nearly 20 other states have either downgraded their participation or outright rejected the curriculum.

H/T: Eric Owens

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