New law allows Illinois’ special needs students to attend school thru age 22

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WTVO) — Illinois’ special needs students can now attend school through the end of the school year in which they turn 22, according to a new law signed Wednesday.

“I strongly believe that a core principle of governance is ensuring that our laws are kind to the people they are meant to serve. And there’s nothing kind about taking a student with disabilities out of the classroom on October 16th, or January 5th, or April 19th, just because they turned another day older,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “It doesn’t happen to general education students, and it shouldn’t happen to our students with special needs either. In Illinois, it will never happen again. We all have something to celebrate today.”

House Bill 40 will allow special education students to continue attending school through the end of the school year in which they turn 22, rather than leave school the day they turn 22. Under prior law, special educations students aged out of eligibility on the day they turn 22, losing access to vital support services.

The legislation will allow students with disabilities to finish the school year and celebrate the milestone of high school completion in the same way as their peers.

House Bill 2748 will allow special education students to remain eligible for services up to the end of the regular 2021-2022 school year if a student reached the age of 22 during the time in which the student’s in-person instruction, services, or activities were suspended for a period of 3 months or more during the school year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

This legislation will give students an opportunity to regain critical in-person classroom instruction time and transition to adult special needs services.

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