My U.S. History Regents exam was canceled after a mass shooting. Leaders must focus on removing the real threat.

My U.S. History Regents exam was canceled after a mass shooting. Leaders must focus on removing the real threat.

As the New York State mandated U.S. History Regents exam approached, test preparation was in full swing at Stuyvesant High School, where I am a junior. This year would be the first time this exam was offered since the pandemic hit, and none of us knew what to expect. Stuyvesant held intensive test prep during class periods and offered after-school Regents review sessions on topics ranging from the U.S. Civil War to the suffragist and gay liberation movements.

Then, on the morning of Tuesday, May 24, eight days before the Regents, a student leapt out of their seat: “GUYS, THE REGENTS WAS CANCELED!” Instantly, the class turned into a chorus of surprise and confusion. Was the test really canceled, and if so, why?

When we got confirmation that the U.S. History Regents exam would not move forward, I was elated. Having one less test I had to pass to graduate felt like a significant weight off of my shoulders. But as details emerged, my initial excitement turned into alarm. I assumed that the exam was canceled due to an uptick in COVID cases. I soon learned that it was canceled because state education department officials were worried this test had “the potential to compound student trauma caused by the recent violence in Buffalo.”

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