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View Diary: OUTRAGE! A Year and a Day After Our Autistic Son's Arrest, 25 More Kids Arrested (35 comments)

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  •  Correct on all points Cassandra. (37+ / 0-)

    Approximately three to four years ago, the school district started a push to remove our son from a diploma track, and attempted to persuade him to instead go for a certificate of completion, saying that he lacked the academic abilities needed to pass the classes needed for a diploma. But we knew better. And when we would remind them that we had tremendous expertise in the area of our son's abilities, it seemed to offend some personnel within the district.

    Having a certificate of completion versus a diploma may be appropriate in some instances, but it does place limitations on a student's future.

    A certificate of completion and a diploma are not equivalent when it comes to job eligibility. Students who have only earned a certificate do not usually qualify for jobs that require a high school diploma, for instance. Certificate-holders are also not usually eligible to matriculate into colleges or universities. Even trade schools and most community colleges require actual diplomas.
    What we found is that the Temecula Valley Unified School District began a practice of applying pressure to an inordinately high number parents of special needs students to agree to change their children's path from diploma to certificate of completion, and this practice was routinely beginning while the student was in middle school.

    The District kept increasing the pressure on us, but we continued to reject the notion, so the district finally attempted to force the issue via his Individualized Education Program (IEP). In the May of 2012, we filed a due process against the District, asking the State of California to keep him on diploma track. In July, 2012, one month before an undercover cop showed up in our son's classroom, we had a pre-hearing mediation in which the District agreed to settle the issue and keep our son on diploma track. And by mentioning this in timeline relationship to the undercover cop appearing in his classroom, we are not necessarily conflating the two. Nor are we necessarily conflating an incident, five months prior to the appearance of the undercover officer, when a drug sniffing dog was brought into our son’s special education classroom, and the dog alerted to our son’s backpack, which was subsequently searched, revealing only the presence of an over-the-counter cough drop.

    So, it gives us great pleasure to announce that our son passed his algebra final yesterday, which was the last academic feat he needed to graduate, and will now receive his diploma.

    And in June, he will walk with the graduating class of 2014.

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