EAST MEADOW - Long Island students in third through eighth grade began the first round of the controversial Common Core tests Tuesday. However, this year more students than last year are expected to opt out, and parents are upset with how those students are being treated. 

According to the Long Island Opt-Out Facebook page, more than 12,000 students opted out of Tuesday’s exam. Activist Jeanette Deutermann says only East Meadow and East Moriches have a so-called “Sit and Stare” policy, which forces students to do nothing while other students take the test.

“They could have let the kids sit with a book and read,” said Rachel Amodeo, an East Meadow parent. “They could have done so many different things to be respectful of our children, but they chose not to do that.”

The East Meadow superintendent would not speak to News 12 when asked about the “Sit and Stare” policy. A statement was released saying that the district complies with all state Education Department guidance relative to testing and test refusal.

News 12 reports that the state Education Department leaves those decisions up to the individual school districts.

The superintendent for East Moriches says students who refused the test but stayed in school were allowed to read outside materials, but only after at least one student had finished the exam.

Officials say students who did not take the tests are reported to the state as "not tested." 

Lack of a score does not affect their final grade in the subject and Common Core tests will not appear on a student's permanent record through eighth grade.