The College Board sent admissions leaders an email message Wednesday related to the murders last week at a Florida high school -- and some recipients are questioning the taste of the message, which they see as a promotion of the Advanced Placement program.
"The shootings in Florida reverberate throughout our halls, hearts, and minds," started the email from David Coleman, the College Board's president. The message went on to say that a Florida student involved in efforts to promote gun control gave a speech this week "infused with references to her A.P. Government class. At a time of utmost passion, she insists that she has been trained in evidence." Then Coleman notes that a journalist describing another student who had learned in AP History about the Pentagon Papers and the role of journalism. Students who cite what they learned in AP courses, Coleman said, "honor Advanced Placement teachers everywhere, for they reflect their power to open worlds and futures to students."
Shortly after the email was sent, admissions leaders in higher education and some high school teachers started questioning why Coleman would send out such an email right now. Also angering some educators was that Coleman criticized one of the students who noted her AP course, saying that her rhetoric "may have benefited from a less partisan approach and an attempt to better understand the positions of gun rights proponents." The student was from the high school where the shooting took the lives of some of her fellow classmates, and many asked why Coleman had any business questioning her perspective.
UPDATE: On Thursday morning, the College Board issued this statement: "This past week, our hearts have ached for the students, educators, and families in Broward County. The purpose of our letter to members was to put the focus on the remarkable students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and to share their voices. We sincerely apologize that our words have taken the focus away from the needs of their community at this terrible time."