Students taking the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) standardized test can be under a great deal of pressure when they start their early morning exams. So, eighth-grade teacher Kyle Byler, a teacher at Hand Middle School in Lancaster, brought in an electric griddle, and cooked each of his students a whole wheat pancake that he served them as they buckled down to their test.
But administrators were apparently so irked that the pancake breakfast could distract students from their state-mandated test that they suspended Byler on the spot and told him he’d be fired, LancasterOnline.com reported.
On Tuesday, the School District of Lancaster said that Byler won’t be fired and that the entire matter had been dealt with internally, and said no written notice had ever been served to the School Board to even request a hearing for a potential firing.
“The personnel matter has been resolved with the employee, who is scheduled to return to work,” the school district said in a statement posted to their Facebook page. They also stated that Byler was proctoring the standardized test and thus was technically required to only focus on administering the test.
“The Pennsylvania Department of Education [PDE] strictly requires that teachers who proctor PSSA testing focus their full attention on monitoring students during the test,” the district said. “Had permission been sought by a teacher to cook in the classroom during PSSA testing and serve food to the students, the response would have been that such activities would distract the teacher from the required duties as a test proctor.”
The incident is still under review by PDE, the School District said, but Byler is reportedly set to return to the classroom on Thursday.
The School District clarified that they do provide students with free breakfast and lunch every day, including on test days, and said they “appreciate and support the many SDoL educators who go above and beyond to meet the needs of our students every day.”