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[Susan notes: Here is a strong letter, very much to the point.]

Published in Boston Globe

To the editor

STATE LEGISLATORS have passed a bill that would allow special education students to participate in graduation ceremonies, though they may not have passed the MCAS test (brief, City & Region, April 6). Please excuse me if i don't applaud.

As a parent of a 14-year-old special learner, I will tell you that every day Robbie gets up and wants to go to school is a good day. Although he is challenged daily, school is a joy for him. He has taken the alternative MCAS test and passed it, but I believe a day will come when he won't. Should that deny him a diploma? He regularly makes honor roll, will complete all other graduation requirements, and has won the hearts of everyone he touches.

Why have we let the state force school districts to ignore all the subjective criteria that consider allowances and weighted decision-making when it comes to our students' achievements? Denying these children their rights as high school seniors does a disservice to them, their families, and the educators who have helped them. Walking through the paces of graduation is not enough; many of these students deserve a diploma.

Susan Gould-Coviello

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