Sweeney Bill Advances To Support Special Ed High School Students

TRENTON – The Senate today approved a bill, S-442, co-sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Stephen M. Sweeney, to authorize special education students who have attended four years of high school to participate in their class graduation ceremonies.

“Special ed students get federally mandated, individual education plans which often extend beyond the standard four-year high school period,” said Senator Sweeney, D-Gloucester, Salem and Cumberland. “This bill ensures special education students their right to experience the full high school experience while they continue their academic pursuits.”

The measure was prompted after the East Hanover School District in Morris County sought to ban a special education student from attending graduation ceremonies because she needed to complete additional course work required by her individual education plan.

“It’s inspiring and totally appropriate for special ed students who have put in four years of high school work to stand with their classes at graduation, receive a certificate of attendance and then continue on to complete their coursework,” said Senator Sweeney, the Legislature’s leading advocate for special education issues.

After the Senate vote of 39-0, the bill was forwarded to the Assembly.