Los Angeles teacher Cassandra McGrath stood up to a terror threat by making her students take their final exam.
When fear and terror change your life, the terrorists win. Los Angeles teacher Cassandra McGrath stood firm in the face of fear and refused to let a terror threat that shut down the entire Los Angeles school district Tuesday change her plans, or threaten her students’ educations. That’s why she told her students that they still had to take the final exam that was scheduled for that day.
McGrath’s high school students did not all see it that way, however, and some reportedly took to Twitter to call her “savage” and “crazy.”
“When you have a savage teacher and she still wants you to complete her final even though there’s no school,” one of McGrath’s students posted to Twitter, according to Time. The student deleted the post later, but had a lot of support from friends and family who appeared to agree that the teacher was “crazy” for making the students take the exam they had been scheduled to take anyway.
McGrath teaches senior English, and says there had been an in-class essay test scheduled for Tuesday. Students were told they’d have two hours in class to write an essay on the subject of incarceration and whether they thought juveniles should be tried and incarcerated like adults. The essay test was planned to be worth 10 percent of the students’ grades, and the students knew about it well in advance.
When school was canceled Tuesday, many students presumably thought they were getting a reprieve from the test, but McGrath notified the students that they would be expected to do the essays anyway. The students actually got a pretty sweet deal. They got to work from home, and they had more time to devote to drafting their essays, which they’d get to polish in class the next day. The students should have been thrilled.
“They already had all their stuff to do their final,” McGrath said. “I just said, ‘Do it while you can, and you can come redo it in class.’”
McGrath made the right choice. She says she was not going to allow some terrible person to deny her students’ right to get an education, and that includes writing an essay for her. When she heard about the complaint, McGrath said she thought the student was blowing the request way out of proportion.
“A savage teacher?” she said. “Come on. They just had to write a draft. That’s silly. I was excited for them to take their final.”
Admittedly, blowing things out of proportion is pretty normal behavior for a teenager, but McGrath wasn’t asking them to do anything they shouldn’t have already been prepared to do. The students knew there was a final essay exam that day, and if they were going to be prepared to take it, they were already prepared well before school was canceled. The only thing McGrath did by telling the students to turn in the test anyway was to disappoint some kids who thought they were getting a free vacation.
“You might as well do it at home if you’re already sitting at home,” she said. “I don’t like the idea that some terrorist is stopping them from their education. I just wanted them to be productive.”
McGrath also pointed out that students’ final grades for the semester are due on Thursday, and colleges see those grades when they consider students’ applications. If she was to get them in on time for colleges to see, the students would have to do the work to get the grades.
McGrath seems like a pretty cool, tough, fair teacher. She may have made a couple students cranky, but McGrath isn’t savage, she’s a badass.