Red Apple Mom

January 5, 2011

A New Year’s Toast to Parent Advocates!

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you,

then they fight you, then you win.” ~ Gandhi

Gotta love the man of peace!  Gandhi died in 1948 and yet his wise words still ring true for parent advocates like me.

For those of you new to the world of education advocacy, the path is sometimes frustrating but oftentimes rewarding – especially when you win!

Today’s blog post for this new year embodies that spirit of hope and success!

Check out what this family in Fairfax County, VA – home to the nation’s 12th largest school district – accomplished just this week.  The parents were fighting Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) so that their epileptic son could attend public school with his professionally trained service dog.  After failing to persuade FCPS about the merits of their son’s case, they took their cause national and made it onto The TODAY Show yesterday.  (http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/26184891/vp/40906933#40906933)

It appears that FCPS now understands you can’t fight a cute kid and doe-eyed doggy being interviewed by NBC’s Matt Lauer.  Today’s Washington Post reports that the family has now been granted a two-week trial period for their boy and dog to attend public school together.  (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/04/AR2011010405680.html) Unfortunately, the boy’s Army sergeant father must take off two weeks of work and accompany his son and son’s guide dog, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this will all work out for this family.

Still, I am astounded by the extraordinary measures that parents and teachers must take to ensure school administrators do the right thing.  When will school superintendents and school board members realize they should work FOR the parents and community who pay for the schools and not work AGAINST parents and the community?

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