After complaints from pro-life advocates who were outraged that a Catholic school would do such a thing, a Catholic school in Michigan has reinstated a 12-year-old cancer survivor who was expelled after missing too many classes. The concerns come at a time when Pope Francis has set an admirable tone with his love and support for the disabled and push a pro-life ethic condemning assisted suicide and euthanasia.
In Michigan, 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.”
Now, as the Washington Times reports, McGrath has been reinstated.
Rev. John Fleckenstein, pastor administrator, released a statement on Friday announcing that after “much consideration and prayer,” and in consultation with St. Joseph Principal Marcy Arnson, “we have decided to invite seventh-grader Rose McGrath to return to our school as soon as possible.”
In an earlier statement, Mr. Fleckenstein said the school had tried to work with Rose and made “so many accommodations” to reduce her workload, but it just got to a point where they felt she wasn’t getting the help she needed.
Rose’s father, Tom McGrath, said the accommodations that were made were “woefully inadequate for a child with such a serious diagnosis,” the CBS affiliate reported.
In his statement Friday, Mr. Fleckenstein explained further: “We remain convinced that the accommodations provided over the past months were extensive, appropriate, and compassionate.
“It is unfortunate that the coverage of this issue has been greatly distorted both in the media and on social networks. We hope and pray that moving forward we can do so with mutual respect while providing continued privacy for our student,” he said in his statement. “As we did before, we will continue to work closely with the McGrath family and invite them to take advantage of the accommodations throughout the remainder of the school year. Our focus has been, and remains on the well-being and academic success of Rose.”
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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