Deferral of Diploma
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), requires that school districts provide students with disabilities who have an individual educational plan (IEP) a free appropriate public education (FAPE). Prior to this current school year, when a student with a disability graduated from high school with a standard diploma, the school district was no longer obligated to provide FAPE, and all services ended. During the 2014 legislative session, section 1003.4282, Florida Statutes, (F.S.) was amended and the opportunity for certain students with disabilities to defer receipt of their standard high school diploma in order to continue to receive services was added.
The statute allows a student to defer the receipt of a standard high school diploma if they have an IEP that prescribes special education, transition planning, transition services, or related services through age 21 AND are enrolled in an accelerated college credit instruction, industry certification courses that lead to college credit, a collegiate high school program, courses necessary to satisfy the Scholar designation requirements, or a structured work-study, internship, or pre-apprenticeship program.
If you believe that your child may be eligible to defer the standard diploma that is anticipated for award this school year, contact the ESE Liaison at your school. The IEP team will determine eligibility for deferral. The benefits of deferring receipt of the high school diploma and the programs available to students who defer will be reviewed with eligible students and their parents during an IEP meeting. This information will also be provided in writing.
The decision to accept or defer the standard high school diploma must be made by May 15. The parent, (or the student if over 18 years of age and to whom rights have transferred), must sign a document stating whether or not they wish to defer. Note that failure to attend the graduation ceremony does not constitute a deferral of the diploma.