CHARLOTTE, NC — It could be months before a judge decides whether to dismiss a lawsuit against Calvary Church. More than a dozen families say the Child Development Center Director Pat Collins kicked out kids with disabilities. Monday, families faced Collins for the first time since they say she kicked their kids out of school for disabilities.
“Pat Collins and, by extension, defendant Calvary have been openly discriminating against disabled children and children it regards as disabled,” said Josh Van Kampen.
Monday, he asked the judge to add a fifth family to a lawsuit. It claims Collins expelled kids for disabilities or illnesses like a prosthetic leg, diabetes, undiagnosed A.D.D., even a peanut allergy.
“She has advertised the school as a Christian based program that loves children,” Van Kampen told the judge.
For the first time, we heard Calvary’s defense.
“Calvary is a private, church affiliated school. We do not receive any federal financial assistance, and there’s no requirement under the law that they provide medical care to students,” said Calvary’s attorney, Mel Garofalo. “They don’t provide medical care. They do not monitor glucose. They do not provide any other standard care. They don’t have a nurse. They’re not required to have a nurse.”
Garofalo argued in part that Calvary’s handbook is clear: it can not render medical care for liability reasons.
Something the judge called him on.
“Woah. What would happen if a child somehow or another got cut, cut himself or herself and is, is, is bleeding profusely?,” the judge asked. “Is their duty satisfied by calling 911? Do they not have a duty to try to stop the bleeding and administer basic first aid?”
Garofalo argued, “Well, they certainly would do that your honor.”
“That’s not what you said,” argued the judge.
Garofalo says the handbook says the school will contact parents, doctors and 911 in an emergency.
He is asking the judge to dismiss arguing the lawsuit only lists parents as complainants, not kids.
Pat Collins and the parents did not comment as they left the courthouse.
The parents want the judge declare Calvary violated the North Carolina Persons with Disabilities Protection Act.
They want the court to require Calvary to comply with the state Persons with Disabilities Protection Act and allow the kids to re-enroll in the school if they want.