New York state U.S. history regents should have been canceled

New York state U.S. history regents should have been canceled

Sean Snaider, Contributing Writer

On May 14, a shooting occurred in a supermarket in Buffalo, New York.  The shooter, in an act of hate, caused damage to those in Buffalo and those in surrounding areas.  This hate crime was an expression of the gunman’s racist ideas, as it took place in a zip code that had the highest density of people of color.  On top of that, it was streamed on Twitch, a live-streaming platform that is usually used for gaming, for roughly two minutes before being taken down by administrators on the platform.  In light of the shooting, the U.S. History Regents was canceled in 2022 because material on the test was deemed to be sensitive.

The U.S. History Regents is an exam given at the end of the year in New York State to students who take either AP U.S. History or Regents U.S. History.  This exam is used to measure students’ aptitude and knowledge of U.S. history at the end of the year. The cancellation was made out of respect for those who had lost their lives and grieving families who lost loved ones.  In addition, some people might be more affected by the content than others, and because of that, some students may be put at a disadvantage, perhaps if they were directly affected by the massacre.  The sensitive content on the exam may cause people to lose track of time, shut down, or even lose focus, making them unable to finish the exam as a result.  

“I think the US History Regents should be canceled because some people are very sensitive to certain topics and a topic that provokes such negative thought on a test could affect their performance,” said sophomore Elina Sommer.

Those who believe that the Regents should have been held argue that violence is a recurring theme in our country’s history, yet the violence of the past has never led to the cancellation or censorship of historical facts.  However, the proximity in time between the Buffalo shooting and the US History Regents is definitely cause for cancellation, as topics closely related to recent events could be triggering and traumatic for students.

In addition, those who support keeping the exam argue that the test could have been changed to remove the sensitive information without doing away with the test altogether.  In theory this would be great, but the tests have already been printed, and altering them within such a short time frame is not currently possible.  Holding the test in its current state could offend or hurt direct victims of the tragedy, so the state made the correct decision by cancelling it.

The cancellation of the Regents examination as a whole was something that should have happened, as it shows respect to those who were affected directly and keeps the exam fair among all students taking it.  It allows those who were directly affected to heal and provides more fairness among these exams.  On top of this, the cancellation of these Regents caused the other Regents to only be used to help the grades of students rather than hurt them.  Overall, the cancellation of the U.S. History Regents has more benefits than negatives and was beneficial to the wellbeing of the students and families of New York, whether or not they were directly affected by the Buffalo shooting.