Assemblywoman Stanfield legislation provides special education students a ‘bridge year’
TRENTON – Assemblywoman Jean Stanfield introduced legislation that would allow special education students on their last year of school eligibility to option for a bridge year to make up missed time during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Many special needs students and young adults with individualized education programs were left behind when schools went remote last spring and continue to go remote this school year. There can be added challenges for our special needs community when having to adapt to a new style of learning. They deserve the opportunity to make up the education they have missed during the pandemic,” Stanfield said.
The 8th District Assemblywoman’s bill, A5025, would establish a “Bridge Year Pilot Program” to specify that a classified student, who will turn 21 years of age during a bridge year due to services provided by an individualized education program, is eligible to participate in the pilot program.
The legislation amends a law passed during the pandemic that created the pilot program to allow a bridge year for students as long as they were 19 years old or younger during the bridge year. Since special education students are eligible for a public education up until the age 21, the existing law had the potential to leave out some students with individualized educational programs who wished to participate in the pilot program.
“Education is at the top of the mountain when it comes to providing our children a bright future. We can’t let the pandemic rob that from them, especially from our special needs community who rely heavily on these services,” Stanfield said.