SPRING, Texas - A Spring High School senior is not allowed to graduate Sunday night because the district says she missed a STAAR test during the pandemic.
"I'm truly very emotional and I’m heartbroken," said Rachel Johnson.
Sunday night should’ve been one of the happiest moments of Rachel Johnson’s high school career at Spring ISD. But instead of crossing the stage at graduation with her friends, this honor student will be sitting at home after the district said she hasn’t met the TEA requirements to walk.
Her grandmother, Alice Henry, said she found out the news last week.
"If you contacted me five days before, how come you didn’t contact me just five days before that and she could’ve taken the test. It is very unfair. Her counselor was supposed to walk her through and take care of her and letting her know everything," Henry said.
Johnson said her counselor never reached out to her directly or to her teachers who she interacted with every day.
"Instead they were emailing my deceased mother and contacting my deceased mother," Johnson said.
Johnson's mother, Roslyn Johnson, died three years ago. Henry has been listed as her emergency contact ever since.
"They said there was no way to contact you. They were contacting me during the pandemic," Henry said.
"Our organization, League of United Latin American Citizens, is prepared to go out and do whatever we can to right this wrong," said Isidro Garza Jr., LULAC's District Chair on Education.
Garza says LULAC believes the district could’ve made an exception.
"She is an honor student, and she should be treated as such. Maybe she still needs to do something over the summer. But walk the grass and get the honor even if she's not given the diploma, another document. Allow her to go through that honor," Garza said.
In a statement Spring ISD said, "This Spring High School student did not meet TEA requirements to graduate, so she is ineligible to walk the stage at this time. We have been working with the student and her grandmother to ensure all requirements are met this summer so she can graduate in August. This situation is not unique and is the reason we offer a summer gradation opportunity for students who just need to complete a few requirements. Our goal is to see every senior get their diploma and be able to celebrate with a graduation ceremony."'
Johnson said she’s scheduled to take her STAAR test at the end of the month.
She’ll be attending Texas Southern University in the fall to study political science and eventually go to law school.