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NHS: Students with Special Needs



Students who have received accommodations for their disability, based on their having been identified with one or more physical, emotional, learning or other disabling conditions, raise some unique questions where selection to NHS is concerned. For these cases, several relevant points should be considered.

First and foremost: Any student who is judged by the Faculty Council to meet the selection criteria (scholarship, leadership, service, and character) for membership should be selected.

Local selection procedures cannot be written to exclude students in an accommodated curriculum. 

Should it be determined that the potential member does not meet all of the selection criteria, the Faculty Council may consider bestowing honorary membership upon a student with a registered disability. Honorary membership can be bestowed upon students with disabilities or foreign exchange students in recognition of achievement and/or outstanding service rendered to the school in keeping with the purposes of the chapter organization.  

Other students at the school who are outside of these two categories are not eligible for honorary membership. Put simply, honorary membership grants to the recipient all of the privileges of membership without the obligations associated with active member status.

When local schools consider students with special needs for membership, the Faculty Council should consider one of three options:

  • selection as an active member
  • nonselection based on failure to meet the selection criteria
  • selection as an honorary member of the chapter

(Sources: National Honor Society Handbook & NHS National Constitution, Article VIII, Section 3.)