A catholic school in Michigan is being criticized over its decision to expel a young girl who underwent a lengthy medical procedure aimed at treating her cancer, arguing the student missed too many days and thus failed to meet academic standards.
Last week, the parents of 12-year-old Rose McGrath were stunned to learn the St. Joseph Middle School would be discontinuing their child’s education.
“I didn’t do anything wrong, but they still got rid of me,” Rose told CBS affiliate WWMT.
Rose had been fighting acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a type of blood cancer, since she was diagnosed in August 2012, and is now in remission. But she’s admittedly had to miss quite a few school days.
She’s only attended class 32 times this year, but her parents say she would go to school every day if she had the strength.
“Even though she’s now done with her treatment you still have a very long recovery process because you’ve basically just put two and a half years of poison into your body,” Rose’s mother Barbara said.
Despite her aggressive chemo treatment, Rose’s parents say she’s still on track to pass her core classes.
Unfortunately, the Battle Creek Area Catholic Schools, where Rose has attended her whole life, felt that despite their “many accommodations,” which included reducing the student’s workload, the child failed to meet their academic and attendance standards.
“These were extraordinary circumstances, but so many accommodations were made we felt eventually it became a point where we really had to ‘help’ Rose by being able to make sure that she was getting the assistance that she needed and to learn,” Battle Creek Area Catholic Schools Pastor Administrator John Fleckenstein said.
The school’s explanation didn’t sit well with Rose’s parents, who feel the facility has failed to comprehend the severity of their child’s affliction.
“The accommodations which were made were woefully inadequate for a child with such a serious diagnosis,” Rose’s father Tom said.
Her mother also adds that Rose didn’t skip out on class intentionally.
“It’s not like she’s out at the mall having fun. She’s in her bed, sick with nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain. She’s not having fun. She’s sick. She’d be at school if she could,” Barbara said.
Rose’s parents say they’ve filed a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights.