Students who had been denied diplomas from the Muscogee County School District because of their failure to pass state tests graduated Thursday as the result of a Georgia House bill that eliminated the requirement.
The school district received a total of 619 House Bill 91 petitions, said Valerie Fuller, director of communications. She said 562 of the petitions were approved and 80 petitioners were confirmed to participate in a summer graduation held Thursday night at Carver High School. There were also about 39 summer graduates.
HB91 is a retroactive bill that grants a waiver to students who failed the Georgia High School Graduation Test, Georgia High School Writing Test and the Basic Skills Test. As a result, students who enrolled in ninth grade for the first time on or after July 1, 1981, and who have met credit requirements for the state and the Muscogee County School District are now eligible to receive a high school diploma.
The bill went into effect March 30 after it was signed by Gov. Nathan Deal.
HB91 requires school districts to notify potential diploma holders in January 2016, 2017 and 2018, said Trikella Nelson, the district's director of guidance services. She said there are about 8,000 people throughout the state who now qualify for a diploma.
Former students who qualify may obtain a House Bill 91 Petition Form by going to the school district's website, contacting the last high school they attended if the expected graduation year was 2009 or later, contacting the Muscogee Public Education Center Division of Teaching and Learning, or contacting the Department of Records Management if the expected graduation year was 2008 or earlier. Records Management also should be contacted if the student's high school is no longer open.