CASTLE ROCK, Colo. (CBS4) – Parents of students at a school in Douglas County are upset because they believe their children are being punished for their decision to opt their children out of state testing.

A bill passed through the Senate on Tuesday that would help ensure parents who choose to opt their children out of standardized testing could do so without any pushback from schools — which some parents say they are seeing now.

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Parents of students at Academy Charter School say their children are being unfairly punished for a decision they’ve made, and the story is gaining the attention of state lawmakers.

“If we’re opting him out, you don’t punish the kid for it. You have to talk to the parents about it,” Peter Merian said.

Maegen and Peter Merian made the decision with their son Malachi not to participate in state assessments. On testing day Malachi went to school and was told to go home. When he came back for volleyball practice, Malachi was told he couldn’t participate because his absence was unexcused.

“He didn’t really miss school, he was told he couldn’t be at school,” Maegen Merian said.

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In a statement the school said, “This is not meant to be punishment, however Acadmey Charter School simply does not have the classroom space or teaching resources to provide alternative activities to students on test days.”

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Because of that they’re not to be at school, and per their absence policy they cannot participate in sports practices or games on that day.

“I am just surprised that they would implement something like that,” Maegen Merian said.

The issue is one now making its way through the state Legislature. Sen. Chris Holbert, R-Douglas County, co-sponsored a bill that — if passed — would make terms of opting out much clearer for parents and schools.

“The first item in the bill is all parents — all 100 percent of parents — have the right to opt out their kids. Second is they’re held harmless,” Holbert said.

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Academy Charter is in the Douglas County School District. A representative says while their schools do not consider it an unexcused absence, a charter school can independently decide how to handle parent refusals.