Storm Lake, IA student refuses to take 'demeaning' test - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Storm Lake, IA student refuses to take 'demeaning' test

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STORM LAKE, Iowa (KTIV) - A Siouxland student says she wants answers from the federal and state government.

That's after the "No child left behind" law has made it mandatory for students who pick English as their second language to take an English language proficiency test.

But she refuses to take it saying it's discriminatory.

"This is a cause and it's not only for me, it's for everyone else out there who does speak a second language and does not want to get hurt," said Lori Phanachone a senior at Storm Lake High School.

Lori Phanachone is proud of her Laotian heritage.

"I'm not going to deny my heritage, I'm not going to disrespect my mother," said Phanachone.

Because the 18 year old senior checked English as her second language, she's been put into a category where the government says she'll have to take a test to determine her English speaking and comprehension abilities.

"Testing of the students is federally mandated and what to use is state mandated," said Superintendent Dr. Paul Tedesco.

But Phanachone says the test is demeaning and she has refused to take it.

"For the federal government to throw that in my face, and say hey you have to prove yourself.  I've proved myself my whole entire life, it's not right," said Phanachone.

She's got a 3.9 grade point average. Since the district considers her refusal to be insubordinate, they have punished her by asking her to leave school last Friday, missing activities and in-school suspension for three days this week.

"The school has punished individuals on a regular basis that are insubordinate and I believe at this time the system has run it's course," said Superintendent Tedesco.

News Channel Four's Melissa Lanzourakis asks, "Why not just take the test and get on with your life, since you know you can pass it?"

"I know I can pass it, I can get on with my life.  Even if I take it, I'm going to push this cause," said Phanachone.

And since she says the government can look at her speaking abilities through other means, that's exactly what she says they should look at. 

Lori Phanachone says she might take the test, but promises this issue is not over.

Online Reporter: Melissa Lanzourakis

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