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Monday, September 19, 2011

An Incident in Sierra Madre

A June post dealt with a incident in Sierra Madre, California. The Sierra Madre Patch has an update:
For Tony and Mary Brandenburg, the return of their third grade son to Sierra Madre Elementary School this fall was anything but the typical end to summer vacation.

Like one in every 110 children in the county, their son suffers from autism, a condition that requires special attention and has resulted in a number of behavioral incidents during his time at the school.

Before his return in late August, their son - whose name the couple asked be withheld - had been home-schooled for nearly a year after they pulled him from class in October of 2010.

But the choice to make other arrangements for his education was anything but their own, according to the Brandenburgs. Instead, it was the result of an organized effort by a group of Sierra Madre School parents to have their son removed from the school.

Now, the couple’s son is back at Sierra Madre Elementary in a new classroom dedicated to educating special needs children. While they would prefer a “blended inclusion” approach, where their son interacts with children in his own grade rather than being isolated, they’re taking the school’s new approach day by day.

On the eve of his first day back to school, the Brandenburg’s son asked his mother what his new class would be like and whether or not the other children would have disabilities.

“I said yes,” Mary Brandenburg told Patch. “He said, ‘Yay! Maybe the kids will like me!’"

“I'm trying to figure out how to tell him that being in the special class is going to pin on him a label, and which may end up with him being called, ‘tard’, ‘Special Ed’, ‘dummy class’, etc. and that he can't respond with hitting, or that will get him into more trouble,” Brandenburg said.