4th grader asked to take NY state test from hospital bed

The boy's parents are shocked that a teacher showed up at the hospital to administer a test, but the hospital says that the state permits students to opt out of it.

The state of New York took standardized testing to a new level when a teacher appeared next to a fourth grader's hospital bed last week to administer a state test.

Joey Furlong, a student in the Bethlehem School District, N.Y., has life-threatening epilepsy and might have to undergo brain surgery to contain his seizures. He is currently admitted at Cohen Children’s Medical Center on Long Island for a series of tests related to the surgery, CBS6 in Albany reported.

At the hospital, doctors are withdrawing his seizure medications and Furlong is hooked up to an EEG. "Essentially, his head is attached to the wall and he has an IV in his hand and he's wearing a pulse oximeter in case something happens with his oxygen levels," the boy's mother, Tami Furlong, told CBS6. "Basically, doctors have to wait until he has another seizure to monitor what is going on in his brain before they can do surgery."

The family was shocked when "a teacher from the New York City School District "showed up at the hospital with a piece of paper with Joey's name and announced that she was there to "administer the 4th grade New York State test" for Joey, Tami Furlong told CBS6.

Joey's father, who was in the room, prevented him from taking the test.

The Bethlehem School District told CBS6 that they heard about the incident from the Furlongs, adding that they did not send the teacher and that they did not share any information about Joey's absence with the New York State Education Department or the hospital.

A hospital spokesperson said that New York state law says a hospital must offer school instruction to children who stay in the hospital for more than three days as well as administer state tests to children. However, the instruction and the testing doesn't need to take place if the child is not healthy enough.

A physician can sign a clearance form waiving the exam and instruction, as was done in Joey's case, the spokesperson said. 


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