CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A discrimination lawsuit against a south Charlotte mega church is growing, as six more families came forward after Channel 9’s story about the suit aired in January.
They claim Calvary Church dismissed their children because of medical or developmental disorders.
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The amended suit was filed Wednesday morning in Mecklenburg County. The lawsuit highlights allegations that Calvary Church and child development director Pat Collins discriminated against children with disabilities.
In January, two families claimed their sons were dismissed because of medical conditions.
“It was just the same thing all over again, just a different child, little different situation,” said Carmen Shaw, who recently joined the lawsuit. “But, the course of what happened was exactly the same.”
Shaw said her 5-year-old son, Jax, has developmental delays and was removed from the Summer Fun Day Care because he was “special and needed extra help” that the school didn’t have.
Liz Brundage claimed the school expelled her 4-year-old son, Carter, because they perceived he had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, known as ADHD.
She said her son was devastated.
“He would cry and ask me, ‘Mommy, if I’m just a good boy, can I just go back to my old school?’” Brundage said.
Another family claimed their blind daughter, Hayes, was told that the school “would not be able to accept a blind child into the program.”
The suit also claimed that another child, Noah, faced discrimination because part of his left leg was amputated just days after birth.
His mother claimed she was told “Calvary would not be a good fit for you and your son. We can’t take on a liability.”
Because of the statute of limitations, the families of Noah and Hayes aren’t listed as plaintiffs, but their attorney said it shows a pattern by the school and the director.
“We think it suggests that Pat Collins was actually barring the doors to disabled children that were trying to enroll,” attorney Josh Van Kampen said.
Channel 9 spoke to attorneys for the church in January when the suit was first filed, and they had no comment. Channel 9 reached back out again Wednesday but have not heard back.
No trial date has been set.
Statement on behalf of Calvary Church and Pat Collins:
My clients have reviewed the allegations that have been made in the lawsuit that was filed by the Borjas and Dunning families on January 5, 2016.
Although filed with the court, the original complaint has yet to be served on the defendants as required by law. My clients have not yet been provided with a copy of the amended complaint which apparently was filed with the court on February 10th, and as such are not familiar with the allegations that have been made in this new filing. With respect to the allegations made in the original complaint, my clients strongly disagree with the allegations that have been made against them.
While I do not think it is appropriate to comment on pending litigation or to try disputes like this in the press, I can state that Calvary and Pat Collins will vigorously defend themselves against these unfounded allegations through the legal process.