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Special Needs Kentuckians Eligible for Retroactive Diplomas

Kentucky high school graduates with special needs may now request an alternative high school diploma from their local board of education. 

State Senator Dennis Parrett of Elizabethtown sponsored legislation last year to give students who finished a modified curriculum an alternative diploma. Until then, they were given only a certificate of attainment. 

Under a change that took effect in January, special needs students who graduated before the law took affect, may now retroactively request an alternative high school diploma.  Senator Parrett says without a diploma or GED, many graduates find it diffcult to obtain work or further their education.

"While we were in session last week, a legislator came up to me and told me the story of one of his constitutents who had a child with down syndrome who was given a job and had already been working there," explained Parret. Then, administratively I guess, they found out the child did not have a high school diploma or GED and they had to let him go."

Senator Parrett and his wife have a daughter who is a special needs student and will be among the first in the state to receive the alternative diploma when she graduates from Central Hardin High School in the spring.

Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum. She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years. Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville. She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky. Many of her stories have been heard on NPR.
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