12-Year-Old Cancer Survivor Expelled From Catholic School After Missing Too Many Classes

National   |   Sarah Zagorski   |   Apr 24, 2015   |   2:32PM   |   Lansing, MI

In Michigan, a 12-year-old cancer survivor has been expelled from school after allegedly missing too many classes. The institution, St. Joseph Middle School, sent Rose McGrath and her family a letter explaining that her attendance has affected her academic performance.

According to CBS News, McGrath was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2012 and has been battling the disease for the last three years. The Mayo Clinic describes this type of cancer as a disease of the blood and bone marrow. Unfortunately, it is also known as the most common cancer in children.

Rose was very disappointed after finding out she could no longer attend school. She said, “I didn’t do anything wrong, but they still got rid of me. When I’m at home, I’m sick, I don’t feel well; no one else does that. But when I’m at school I’m like everyone else.”

Thankfully, Rose is now in remission but is still recovering from aggressive chemotherapy. Her mother, Barbara McGrath, was also upset about the school’s decision to expel her daughter. She said, “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. 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.”

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Father Fleckenstein, the pastor administrator of Battle Creek Area Catholic Schools, said the following about the school’s decision regarding McGrath: “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.”

However, Rose’s father, Tom McGrath, disagrees and said that the accommodations were “woefully inadequate for a child with such a serious diagnosis.” In total, Rose attended 32 days of class this year but was on track to pass her core classes.

Learn more about this heartbreaking story in the video below.