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by Joesph and Roxana Hartmann

In A Live Controversy, Roxana and Joseph Hartmann tell the inspiring true story of their five year legal battle against the public school system over whether their autistic son Mark would be better educated in a regular-education classroom or in a special education program. The Hartmann’s belief that the school system was not educating their son in full compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) led to their landmark case against the Loudoun Country school board. Not solely the story of a court case, A Live Controversy is also a moving, deeply personal tale of a child growing up with autism and his parents attempts to support him in spite of the hardships they face.

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Meet the Author

Joseph Hartmann retired in Blacksburg, Virginia following years in government service. Like Roxana, he has become a parent advocate for children with disabilities. In his spare time Joseph authored a novel set within the constraints of actual historical events.

Roxana Hartmann is a passionate advocate for children with disabilities. She serves on two county boards in Montgomery County that address compelling and urgent issues related to children. She is also a consultant on autism.

Press Kit


Formats: Paperback

Pages: 226

ISBN PB: 978-1-9399304-2-2

Release Date: 05/15/2015


“Courageous and persistent parents have been the force that has transformed public education for children with substantial disabilities. A Live Controversy, the story of the Hartmann s decade long struggle to fully include their son Mark in classes with non-disabled students from kindergarten through high school, provides us an in-depth understanding of parent power and the challenges parents like the Hartmanns must confront. But A Live Controversy takes us below the surface, beyond winners and losers to an in-depth exploration of all the multi-layered educational, advocacy and legal processes. Much of its instructional value comes from the wise and liberal use of primary source materials that reveal the perspectives and real time thinking of the teachers, experts, lawyers and various school officials. A Live Controversy is a rich, comprehensive study with national significance for inclusive education; it is also an inspirational tale of what it takes for parents, schools and communities to do right for all children.” —Frank Laski, Esq., Past President, TASH

A Live Controversy has it all, for the parent, the educator, and the related service provider for children with autism. It is a must read if you work with or represent children with disabilities. It contains incredible detail of events, in a moving, emotional chronological story about Mark and his parents quest for his inclusion with other students. By reading this book, if you are a parent of a child with autism, you will learn how to help the other Marks out there and avoid the roadblocks and problems encountered by the Hartmanns. If you are an educator, your eyes will be opened to the mistakes, and in some instances, the abuse, perpetrated on the parents. You will learn how to avoid becoming part of the problem, and instead become part of the solution.” —Peter W. D. Wright, Esq., co-author Wrightslaw: Special Education Law; Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy; Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind. Adjunct Faculty, Special Education Law and Advocacy, William and Mary School of Law

“An amazing story of adversity and victory against impossible odds. Provides much needed inspiration for parents to move ahead in advocacy and to provide a quality of life for all of their children. It is clear these parents deeply love their child.” —Thomas McKean, Partner in Policymaking, Colonel, HOKC author, Soon Will Come the Light: A View From Inside the Autism Puzzle; author, Light On the Horizon: A Deeper View From Inside the Autism Puzzle

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