- Associated Press - Monday, April 20, 2015

MUSCATINE, Iowa (AP) - Muscatine High School will open prom early for students with special needs.

The Muscatine Journal (https://bit.ly/1P5wb9U ) reports the May 2 prom will open two hours earlier to for the students. Music will be played at a quieter level and there will be no flashing lights or decorations that could pop.

Laura Koch, who works with students with special needs at the school, says they wanted to provide the students a chance to have the same experience as others to go to the prom. Koch says students with special needs are welcome to stay through the rest of the prom if they want to. There are 20 students who currently plan to attend the extended hours of prom.

“There’s not very many times that the special needs population is able to get together with a group of friends. A general ed peer can go out with a friend on a Friday night or a Saturday night. This provides that for those special occasions,” she said.

Previously, there had been meals before homecoming for special needs students.

“We’ve really made it so there’s not going to be much of a difference between the prom, besides obviously the level of the music and the lights, but other than that … all the decorations will be done before (the early opening) so they won’t miss out on anything. …It’s really the same thing just different times,” Student Council Member Reyna Melendez described.

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Information from: Muscatine Journal, https://www.muscatinejournal.com

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