SD Unified graduation policy means no ceremony for Lincoln High School student

Family questions district rule

SAN DIEGO - The day before graduation at Lincoln High School, Linda Akbar was told her grandson would not be allowed to participate.

"I was flabbergasted and I'm upset," she said.  

Her grandson, Marcellus Cisneros, is a special needs student with behavioral and other problems.  

"Yes, he had problems in school with suspensions in previous years, but not this year and he completed all of his IEP requirements," Akbar said.  

Special needs students are governed by an IEP, or individual Education Plan, and San Diego Unified School District policy says to graduate with a diploma students have to meet a 2.0 grade point average and a 2.0 in citizenship.  

Marcellus was to have received a letter of recognition during the graduation ceremony and that policy, according to his case manager, doesn't spell out any citizenship policy.  

"The IEP Team of which I belong, certified that Marcellus met all the requirements," said case manager Francois Portay.

District policy prohibits any discussion of disciplinary issues with the media.  

Marcellus will receive a diploma Wednesday having met the minimum academic requirement, but Akbar told 10News, "This policy needs to be explained so that this doesn't happen to any other kid."

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