“For special education students, diplomas, jobs increasingly elusive”

Transition Universe

This article, posted in The Hechinger Report, February 3, 2014, chronicles the struggles of a young woman with a disability in pursuing her post-secondary education because she did not have a standard diploma.

HATTIESBURG, Miss. — Four weeks into a medical assistant program at Antonelli College, Nikki Mclendon eagerly took her parents to the college’s student appreciation day. The 20-year-old looked forward to discussing her progress and pre-registering for the next term, but instead received devastating news.

School officials told the Mclendons their daughter was ineligible to continue. Without warning, the career technical college that accepted Mclendon a year after she finished high school said the “occupational diploma” she’d received from Forrest County Agricultural High School disqualified her.

“I thought, ‘What? I just went through my first semester of college…. I’m having a blast at it, and you all are ruining my career,’” Mclendon recalled.

Mclendon had no way…

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