The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) says a fake letter is circulating on Facebook. The letter claims the state agency will not allow K-12 students to move on to the next grade level for the 2020-21 school year, since the coronavirus closed schools and cancelled statewide tests. The bogus letter, dated April Fool’s Day, illegally uses the Department’s logo, alleges case law and is signed by “Candice B. Furreal”.

Courtesy of the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Facebook page

DESE Spokesperson Mallory McGowin says some people thought the prank was true.

“We at the Department feel like we have tried to make clear from the start that we do not want our students across the state to be negatively impacted any more than they already are because of COVID-19,” says McGowin. “We’re obviously are disappointed that someone has chosen to use their free time in this way to create the document, to use our logo illegally and ultimately and most importantly make light of what we consider a really serious situation and that is our students’ education. We feel like it’s pretty insensitive, given the current situation our students and families and educators are already facing so much anxiety and uncertainty right now.”

McGowin says Missouri is not alone.

“We’ve seen this taking place in Michigan, in California and Utah,” she says.

She says the origin of the post is not being retraced at this time.

“So many agencies right now are dealing with so many more important things,” McGowin says. “We really don’t want to give these folks more credit than they’re due or more time and energy than they’re due.”

McGowin urges educators, families and students to check the department’s website for the latest accurate information.

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