On Wednesday, June 3, Gov. John Bel Edwards signed HB 848 into law, which renames Act 833 of 2014 as the April Dunn Act. April was a tireless advocate for people with disabilities and a dedicated staff member who served in the Governor’s Office of Disability Affairs. She succumbed to complications from COVID-19 on March 28, 2020.
The Louisiana Legislature passed Act 833 in 2014 to provide a pathway to promotion and graduation for certain students with disabilities. After its passage, Louisiana joined many states in recognizing the role a student’s Individualized Education Program has in determining outcomes.
With Gov. Edwards’ signature, the April Dunn Act became Act 1 of 2020.
“Although April was not able to earn a high school diploma, that did not stop her from learning and helping others. Because of April, countless students with disabilities in Louisiana now have a pathway to earn a high school diploma,” Gov. Edwards said. “She was a tremendous asset to our team and to the state of Louisiana. Her enthusiasm and passion for life made a difference in everyone she came in contact with, and her work improved the lives of all Louisianans, including those with disabilities. The April Dunn Act further cements her legacy as a tireless advocate, and I am honored to name Act 1 of 2020 after her. We mourn April’s loss every day, but her infectious smile and advocacy live on forever in our hearts and minds. I ask everyone to please continue to keep April’s family, friends and colleagues in their prayers.”
Working with a bipartisan coalition of legislators, advocates and stakeholders, April put a face to the issue that Act 833 addressed. She testified in support of the legislation and led the bill as it passed the legislature and became law.