Can I still walk with my classmates at the end of my Senior Year, if I participate in a transition plan?

Information on Transition Plans

Students often ask the question “If I participate in a transition plan between the age of 18-21, does that mean I can still walk with my classmates at the end of my senior, or fourth, year?”  The answer is a resounding YES!!

In 2005 State Legislation passed Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5450 – “Kevin’s Law”.  This law insures that young people who have been enrolled in high school can attend and participate in graduation ceremonies with their peers, even if they will continue at the school with services to age 21.

The law does not guarantee that a student will be able to attend school until age 21, as that is determined as part of the IEP at age 16. This law states that a student with an IEP and who has a plan in their IEP that includes attending school until age 21 may walk in the graduation ceremony with students of his or her own age.

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We’re Glad You Asked! – Question about IEP

Question:

My daughter’s IEP is due to be written at the beginning of next school year, 2013-14. Due to her learning disability, she will not have all the credits she needs to graduate by 2014. I want to include in her IEP Transition Plan that she will walk in the graduation ceremony with her class then return to complete the credits she needs for her diploma.  Her IEP team has told me that students who qualify as Specific Learning Disabled are not allowed to go through the ceremony, only students with more significant disabilities. She really wants to go through this ceremony with the kids shehas attended school with since kindergarten.  She is fully committed to returning because she wants her diploma.  What can I tell the IEP team at her high school?

Answer:

Have I got good news for you!  We are fortunate here in Washington State. In 2007 our legislators passed a bill, known as Kevin’s Law, which recognizes that the graduation ceremony is an important rite of passage for students regardless of their abilities or limitations. The law states that “there is significant value in recognizing students’ attendance and accomplishments in their Individual Education Programs and in allowing students with disabilities to participate in high school graduation ceremonies and activities with their age-appropriate peers without the forfeiture of their continuing special education and related services”.

The law does not discriminate among disability groups. It applies to all students with disabilities, not just those with learning disabilities, not just those with autism and not just those with multiple disabilities—all students with disabilities. It also states that “each school district that operates a high school shall establish a policy and procedures that” addresses this issue. I suggest that you hotfoot it to your district and ask for a copy of their policy and procedures.  Be prepared to share Kevin’s Law, also known as House Bill 1050, with your IEP team for discussion.

Then next May, or before, start preparing for the party!