Thursday, June 23, 2011

Leave No Child Behind

PASADENA, Calif. -- On the evening of June 6, Tony and Mary Brandenburg convened with friends and fellow parents in front of the University Club of Pasadena. In just one hour, Pasadena Unified School District officials, parents and teachers would start arriving for an awards ceremony intended to honor the efforts of those who work on behalf of more than 2,200 students in the district's special education programs.
But the Brandenburgs weren't there to celebrate — they were there to protest.
Members of their small group assembled around a pickup parked in front of the club entrance and festooned with posters reading: Inclusion means everyone. Bullying is not OK.
The parents'claim? Their 8-year-old son, whose name they asked be withheld, was bullied out of his second-grade class at Sierra Madre Elementary School by classmates and their parents, the latter of whom, they report, held meetings off campus to discuss his removal. His crime? Unruly behavior brought on by autism.


  1. The Brandenburg family have all my support.

    As a former therapist myself, I am bound to think that given the right scenario the inclussion of disabled kids in standard classrooms is positive and enriching for both sides.

    I also have the honour to know Mr. Brandenburg a little bit. The world around him is a better place. Wish I could be there to raise my sign and protest myself!

    Jonathan Vidal,
    Barcelona (Spain)

  2. Thank you for your comment Jonathan. We'll try to stay on top of the Brandenburgs fight.

  3. Thank you for sharing our story.
    The latest update is that our son will be allowed back at the school- not in a general education classroom, but a special day class. It's a step in the right direction, and will provide a buffer between our son and the misinformed parents that petitioned and bullied our son out. Still, it's not the inclusive setting we expect all children with learning differences to have access to. We believe that equity in education is for all students, not just those that perform, behave, or even self-advocate, according to the group consensus.