Lawmaker Wants Diplomas for Disabled Students

 Legislation pre-filed for the 2012 Kentucky General Assembly would allow more special needs students to earn a high school diploma. As the parent of a daughter with a mild mental disability, Sen. Dennis Parrett (D-Elizabethtown) understands the challenges special education students face. At the beginning of the school year, an individual education program is written for each student, which identifies their unique needs and instructional goals. 

"But if you choose that non-academic route, your child when they graduate high school, they do not get a diploma. They get a certificate." 

Parrett says the current policy isn't fair to disabled students who complete the curriculum set forth in their plan. His proposal would require the Kentucky Board of Education to create an alternative diploma. 

"If your child is a senior at Bryan Station High School, and they completed this curriculum that was set out before them, then I believe that they deserve a diploma." 

The Kentucky Department of Education generally does not take a position on pending legislation, but Parrett says his proposal has the support of the superintendent for Hardin County Public Schools.