AN ACT ALLOWING STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES TO PARTICIPATE IN GRADUATION CEREMONIES.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
Chapter 71B of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding the following section:-
Section 16. A school age child with a disability, in this section called a student, who is completing the twelfth grade but who has not yet earned the competency determination as required under section 1D of chapter 69 for high school graduation, shall be allowed to participate fully in high school graduation ceremonies and activities conducted or sponsored by the school or school committee even though the student will not receive a diploma during the ceremony if:-
(a) The student has maintained at least a 95 per cent attendance level, meaning no more than 9 days of absence from school in a 180 day school year, during the school year before the twelfth grade, but, a student’s absence from school due to disability, illness, religious observance or other reason that constitutes an excused absence under the school’s or school committee’s rules shall not be counted for purposes of this section;
(b) The student has taken the grade 10 MCAS examination in each subject area in which the student did not achieve a passing score at least 3 times, or has participated in the MCAS alternate assessment by submitting at least 2 portfolios; and
(c) The student is in good standing, having met all of the school’s or school committee’s nonacademic standards for students to be eligible to participate in graduation ceremonies and related school activities.
Nothing in this section shall compel a student to participate in the high school graduation ceremony and activities. The superintendent shall consider the recommendation, if any, of the student’s individualized education program team as well as the student’s own expressed preference. A student’s participation in the high school graduation ceremony and activities without award of the high school diploma shall not affect or limit the student’s eligibility for special education services.