NJ students may get option of community service to meet graduation requirements

By Phil Gregory Newsworks

New Jersey school districts might be required to give students the opportunity to meet some of their graduation requirements by performing community service.

Some schools require that students do community service work to graduate, and Assemblywoman Valerie Huttle wants all schools to at least give students the option of earning graduation credits by doing volunteer work.

"It's a great way for students to build their resumes and certainly some skill sets," said Huttle, D-Bergen. "And more importantly, it can definitely be a life-changing experience for some."

Performing the community service work for nonprofit organizations or public agencies fosters relationships, she said. And it allows students to deal with real issues they might not experience in a classroom.

Huttle said she believes most students would be willing to participate in the program even though the community service must be done evenings or weekends, not during regular school hours.

"I think they'd be more than happy to go outside the classroom into a setting where they're still learning ... but not inside a classroom," she said. "I can see this as most students would probably opt to choose this."