My job transferred us to California in August 2011 from Fort Worth, Texas. My daughter Gabby was four years old at the time. Prior to arriving in Oakdale we contacted the public school and sent them a 30+ page bio about Gabby, her education, medical history and everything we had done to prepare her for inclusion. In Texas, Gabby attended Kinderfrogs (a laboratory school at Texas Christian University for babies with Down syndrome), a public school and a private preschool with typically developing children. She also took tap/ballet with typically developing children. Upon arriving in Oakdale, we were told the school needed to do a 30-day evaluation in a special day class (SDC). Seven days later we had our first individualized education program (IEP) meeting. My wife and I left that first meeting baffled and confused – the IEP team felt Gabby should be in an SDC for severely handicapped children K-3rd grade. This was not the path we had carefully planned for Gabby and did not want her in that class. We also thought we had another year of preschool and they told us Gabby was too “advanced” for their preschool program. We requested another IEP meeting because we did not agree with their offer of free appropriate public education (FAPE). We requested Gabby be placed in kindergarten with the proper supports and repeat kindergarten the next year because she was so young. The district told us Gabby would not be able to keep up with her peers. They also told us she could not repeat kindergarten. We requested access to the general education kindergarten class to observe and another IEP meeting. In the third IEP meeting the district was a lot more forceful and was very demeaning of Gabby’s abilities. We put the school on 10 day notice and pulled Gabby. We placed Gabby in kindergarten at Big Valley Christian School (BVCS) where she was welcomed with open arms by all her typically developing peers and the staff. Gabby is repeating kindergarten this year and doing amazingly. We are so thankful for BVCS. My wife and I were in shock that our district would not even try to place Gabby in a general education class. We knew we would never put Gabby back in their school but felt the district was doing a great injustice to all kids who did not fit into the “typical mold.” We retained an attorney and sued the district. It was a grueling process, four full days of testimony. In June 2012 we received the ruling from the judge. He ruled in our favor that the school violated the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) by not offering Gabby a placement in the least restrictive environment (LRE). My wife and I pray this win will help the next little one with Down syndrome who comes to Oakdale. Gabby is a bright, vibrant little girl that brings joy to all she meets. Life is so much better with Gabby in it every day! We want to encourage other families to keep fighting and advocating for your child!