by: Sarah Rosario Updated:
SOUTH CAROLINA - Starting this year, students in South Carolina are no longer required to meet exit exam requirements to graduate. It's all thanks to a new law that allows students to petition the school board. Eyewitness News learned this applies to hundreds of people.
Channel 9 spoke to one mom who says it's improving her life.
Stephanie Blauser said her two children are her world. She tries her best to provide for them but has always felt limited without a high school diploma. Before she had kids she worked in the service industry.
"It was a good paying job, but not like more than minimum wage and I couldn't get any of that. You needed your diploma or GED," she said.
Blauser was denied her diploma at Fort Mill High seven years ago because she couldn't pass the exit exam.
"I took the test like three or four times and each time I'd get closer and closer to passing. And the last time I took it I failed it by one point," said Blauser.
Wanting to do more, Blauser recently called her old guidance counselor and asked to retake the test. That's when she learned about a new law allowing South Carolina students who failed the exit exam to petition the school board for a diploma. It was signed into law by Gov. Nikki Haley in April.
"I said, 'Oh my God. I'm going to cry,' because I struggled so hard in school," she said.
"The law applies to anyone who couldn't pass the exit exam but met all the other graduation requirements. It's now retroactive to the graduating class of 1990.
The new law eliminates the exit exam altogether, but some people we spoke to aren't happy about it.
"We've got too many children coming out that don't have the necessary skills they need to make it in the world," said resident Eve Chapman.
When we checked online to see how legislators voted for the measure, 100 lawmakers approved it, and only 10 were against it.
Blauser says while some may think it's a free pass, for her it's a second chance to provide for the ones she loves the most.
"It's like a weight off my shoulders, because I really wanted something to prove my life, for the kids to look up to me.
SC lawmakers eliminated the exit exam starting this school year.
The law is retroactive to the graduating class of 1990.
If you'd like to see if you qualify call your local school district.
Petitions must be submitted to the local school board by Dec. 31, 2015.
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