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San Francisco Unified Defies State Law, Awarding 107 Diplomas After Exit Exam Cancelled

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) -- Thousands of California high school students still don't have their diplomas, after the state abruptly canceled the exit exam they were supposed to take. In San Francisco, the school district has awarded diplomas, ignoring state law.

At its board meeting on Friday, the district went rogue and issued its own remedy by granting the 107 diplomas to the San Francisco students without the exit exam; in full defiance of state law.

The district posted this tweet after voting unanimously to award the diplomas.

"It was bad for me, because I couldn't go to college," said Krissia Martinez.

Martinez walked across the stage at San Francisco International High School, but she was not a high school graduate. Same goes for Erick Perez. They were planning to take the state-required high school exit exam last month, but then the state abruptly stopped giving the test.

"It was like killing my dreams," Perez said.

Thousands of students across the state are stuck in this same bureaucratic limbo: They've done everything right, finished all their other requirements to graduate. But without the exit exam, some students are being told they can't go to the college of their choice, because they don't technically have a diploma without the exit exam.

"I think they should be ashamed. I think they failed students. And I think to put school districts in this position of having to take a risk and go rogue is nothing something I expect of my state," said Rachel Powell Norton of the San Francisco Unified School District.

"There is a disproportionate negative effect on students of color and English language learners, so one may say we're going to break the law tonight by doing this," said SFUSD superintendent Richard Carranza. "I'm saying we're actually keeping the spirit of the Constitution because the way the law is currently, it's adversely affecting a certain class of student."

"I'm excited," Martinez said. "I would get it and I could go to SF State."

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