Thousands affected by a graduation mistake

July 20, 2012 4:20:21 AM PDT
Thousands of students in Brooklyn were incorrectly told they did not meet the standards to move on to the next grade.

It's an Eyewitness News exclusive.

Tahj Hamilton and Blake Edwards love playing video games when they're not hitting the books.

They're about to enter their freshmen year of high school, but those plans were put on hold when they were told they failed the state math exam.

"They called us into the auditorium," Hamilton said. "They said we're going to start calling names for summer school. They said my name, and I was like 'Wow!'"

Edwards said he was humiliated, angry and confused.

Hamilton couldn't spend the summer with his dad in Florida, and Edwards couldn't go away to basketball camp.

School administrators from two Brooklyn public schools told their parents the boys couldn't walk in the 8th grade promotion ceremony either.

Two weeks into summer school, they got calls saying the boys had actually passed the math exam. The Department of Education used preliminary results since finalized results were delayed.

"It ruined our summer," mom Monifa Thomas said. "He had plans to go away to basketball camp. I had to get a tutor for him twice a week at $75 an hour."

The Department of Education says just over 7,000 students earned level two, four being the highest, and should not have been recommended for summer school. However they said "they benefited from the extra summer learning."

"I feel like they toyed with my educational life," Edwards said. "I feel like they didn't do their best, like I did my best."

Just over 32,000 students were recommended for summer school.

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