December 1, 2017




New law allows students with disabilities to graduate with peers

ALBANY – A law sponsored by local legislators directs local school boards to establish policies and procedures to allow any student with a disability to participate in their high school graduation ceremony.

The bill, drafted by Assemblyman James Skoufis (D, Woodbury) and sponsored by William Larkin (R, Cornwall-on-Hudson) in the Senate, has been signed into law by the governor.

Zachary’s Law is named after Zachary Lerman of Washingtonville, whose parents pointed out to Skoufis that students are allowed to stay in high school until they are 21.

“Many students with disabilities who stay in high school past the traditional 17, 18 years old, they can stay in high school – they can stay in high school until they are 21 – they are often not permitted to participate in their high school graduation ceremony because they are not departing high school,” Skoufis said. “Many of these school districts have a policy to participate in the ceremony, you must be finishing, departing high school.”

The new law allows students who have earned a Skills and Achievement Commencement Credential or an Occupational Studies Commencement Credential to participate in their graduation with their peers.

Larkin said the new law provides “a life altering moment not just for the student but also for his or her family.”


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