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Sweeney Bill To Help Support Special Education Students Approved By Assembly Education Committee

TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Steve Sweeney, which would permit special education students who have attended four years of high school to participate in their class graduation ceremonies was approved today by the Assembly Education Committee.

“Federal law calls for all special education students to follow an individual education plan (IEP) to provide them with the best course of study. Because the IEPs can call for their programs to extend longer than four years, the students sometimes miss out on their formal graduation ceremonies,” said Senator Sweeney, D-Gloucester, Cumberland and Salem. “This legislation would allow special education students, who have gone through four years of high school, to stand with their fellow classmates at graduation.”

Senator Sweeney’s bill, S-442, would permit the special education students who are not graduating, but have completed four years of high school, to receive a certificate of attendance.

The bill was prompted after the East Hanover (Morris County) School District tried to ban a special education student from participating in graduation ceremonies because she needed to complete additional coursework required by her IEP.

“This is an issue of fairness – often, these students have been in school with the same classmates since elementary school, and it is only fitting that they be able to take part in the commencement activities with their peers,” Senator Sweeney said.

This measure was approved by the full Senate on March 17. #