Rose McGrath, a 12-year-old from Battle Creek, Michigan, is an extraordinary little girl. In 2012, she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. But after three years of intense chemotherapy, three years of constant doctor appointments and being sick, Rose achieved remission. Her recovery has been hard-won, and slowly achieved. In fact, her body is still trying to recover — not from the cancer, but from the intense chemotherapy.
“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. You’re not recovering overnight,” Rose’s mother Barbara McGrath explained.
But Rose felt as though her life was finally getting back on track — until her family received a letter from St. Joseph Middle School last week. The letter informed the McGraths that Rose was being dismissed from the Battle Creek Area Catholic School system, which the little girl has attended her entire life. Rose was heartbroken.
“I didn’t do anything wrong, but they still got rid of me.”
The letter expelling Rose from St. Joseph’s Middle School cited attendance and academic performance as the reasons for the expulsion. Rose has only been able to attend 32 days this year, and although her academics have, of course, suffered, her father Tom McGrath says Rose was on track to pass all of her “core” academic classes. Furthermore, Rose’s furious mother says, it isn’t as if her child didn’t have a reason to miss those days.
“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.
School is where Rose wanted to be, the child explained.
“When I’m at school I’m like everyone else.”
School officials are standing by their decision to dismiss Rose McGrath from St. Joseph’s Middle School. Pastor administrator Father John Fleckenstein makes the claim that the decision was made to help Rose.
“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.”
Rose’s father disagrees, saying, “The accommodations which were made were woefully inadequate for a child with such a serious diagnosis.”
The McGrath family has filed a civil rights complaint on behalf of Rose, and they are currently waiting to hear if any action will be taken.
Perhaps ironically, the faith and services section of Battle Creek Area Catholic Schools website explains exactly what they hope the education children receive at their schools may achieve — including “using their excellent academic education to find the cure for cancer.”
Rose McGrath managed to beat cancer, but a health blogger has recently made headlines over writing about her own battle with cancer, which she claimed she cured through alternative methods, while never having cancer at all. To read more on that, click here.
[Image via WWMT.com]