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Vainieri Huttle, Wimberly & Benson Bill to Encourage Community Service Among High School Students Clears Panel

Legislation Assembly Democrats Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Benjie Wimberly and Daniel Benson sponsored to permit high school students to earn academic credit through community service was advanced by an Assembly panel on Monday.

“In addition to helping students develop academically, our schools should instill in young people a sense of civic duty,” said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). “By encouraging students to volunteer, this legislation will promote good citizenship.”

The bill (A-4036) would permit local boards of education to establish a community service credit program for student in grades 9 through 12. The program would allow students to earn credit toward graduation upon completion of an approved community service activity.

“For many students, work done outside of the classroom on a volunteer basis is a hands-on learning experience,” said Wimberly (D-Bergen/Passaic). “Young people who engage in community service often find that they develop personally and professionally in various ways.”

“A quality education enables students to better understand themselves and the world around them, and volunteerism can play an essential role in that process,” said Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “Making community service a part of the curriculum in New Jersey’s schools emphasizes that giving back is an important part of life.”

Under the bill, the board of education shall determine how many hours of community service a student must complete in order to receive the credit. The board also shall determine how many credits a student may earn for community service. Community service for credit must be done with a board-approved organization and may not be completed during school hours.

The measure was advanced by the Assembly Education Committee.