Student with brain injury allowed to walk at graduation

Posted at: 10/24/2013 1:22 PM
Updated at: 10/24/2013 1:35 PM
By: Elizabeth Reed,

Photo: Source: Angel Alderete

A high school senior who couldn't finish his courses due to a severe brain injury will get to walk with his class.

Albuquerque Public Schools superintendent Winston Brooks spoke with Mel Phipps' mother, Angel Alderete, after learning about her online petition to include him in the Volcano Vista High School graduation.

"I told Ms. Alderete that I had instructed both the school and our special education department to come up with a plan that will allow Mel to participate in the graduation ceremony in May," Brooks said in a statement. "This is the right thing to do for Mel, a beloved student who deserves a chance to walk with his class."

Last year, Mel underwent brain surgery that went horribly wrong and left him in a coma for weeks. He has been recovering slowly ever since, but he cannot return to school.  

When the principal told Mel's parents he couldn't graduate without completing the credits, Alderete started an online petition that has received more than 10,000 signatures.