Graduation Ceremony Canceled For Fremont Elementary Students With Special Needs

Renae Clemons was surprised when she found her 6-year-old son Adam's kindergarten diploma in his backpack on Wednesday.

Adam attends a special needs program at Fremont Elementary School in Fresno. His graduation ceremony was planned for Thursday. So, Renae decided to call Adam's teacher.

And what she found out, shocked her.

"She said that they weren't going to be having [the graduation ceremony] just because it's better off because the kids can't be on stage long enough to focus, pay attention and blend in," Clemons said.

Clemons says she couldn't believe special needs students were being singled out.

Eventually her complaint surfaced to the principal's office and then Fresno Unified Superintendent Michael Hanson.

"We had the superintendent call, the principal called and the teachers apologized when we went over there today and they said they'll make sure it doesn't happen again," Clemons said.

In a statement issued to KMPH, Fresno Unified spokeswoman Susan Bedi said:"Kindergarten students that are enrolled in special day classes were not included in the certificate presentation due to the length of the program. Fremont staff recognizes the promotion ceremony should have included all students and will make adjustments for next year. Fremont and the district are extremely proud of special day class students and there was no intention to minimize their promotion to first grade."

Despite the apologies, Clemons says she was robbed of a treasured moment -- something that an apology won't change.