State Will Allow Hutterites to Take Test on Paper

"State Will Allow Hutterites to Take Test on Paper." Yankton Daily Press and Dakotan, 21 August 2001.

VERMILLION (AP) -- The South Dakota Department of Education and the Bon Homme School District have found a way for Hutterite students to take a state-required test without having to use the Internet.

The mandatory Dakota Assessment of Contents Standards, or DACS, test was only available online, but Hutterite elders said having Internet access is against their religious beliefs. Hutterite elders met with officials about the problem earlier this year.

Dallas Preheim is the superintendent of the Bon Homme School District. He said working with Education Secretary Ray Christiansen and local governments, the Hutterites will be given a waiver.

''The testing company has been requested to go back and develop an instrument that is more or less paper and pencil,'' Preheim said. ''We can do some testing or some type of assessment with the colony kids rather than using the Internet as a vehicle for testing, so that we can safeguard the religious rights of these people.''

The first round of DACS tests will be given to third, sixth, and ninth grade students this fall.

Hutterites use computers for word processing and other applications, but they disapprove of content found on the World Wide Web.

Reprinted with permission of the Press & Dakotan.

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