January 5, 2016 by Courtney Francisco
CHARLOTTE, NC — One of Charlotte’s largest churches is facing a lawsuit.
Two families are suing Calvary Church because they say their children were kicked out of the pre-school program because of medical conditions.
“How do you tell your 3-year-old that after you’ve been in the hospital, you’ve been to all these doctor appointments, that you can’t go to school anymore?” said Lucy Dunning.
“It’s not right. It’s not the right thing to do. You are a church,” said Luis Borjas.
The Borjas family and Dunning family say Calvary Church Child Development Center Director Pat Collins expelled their children because of their medical needs in the 2014-15 school year.
Three-year-old Lucas Dunning was diagnosed with abdominal migraines after collapsing at school and dismissed, despite not needing treatment at school.
“It’s heartbreaking,” said Jon Dunning. “You do everything you can to protect your children, but there was nothing we could do.”
Francisco Borjas was diagnosed with type one diabetes. His parents say they administered his insulin at the school.
“She said, ‘I’m really sorry. If we had a nurse, you know, he could be here at school,’” said Luis Borjas.
The Borjas family told WCCB Charlotte they offered to pay for the pre-school to hire a nurse. “It was unbelievable to learn that they didn’t have a nurse!” said Amaya Borjas. They say the church didn’t budge.
The families instead hired attorney Josh Van Kampen and filed the complaint Tuesday, demanding, in part, for the pre-school to provide a nurse and monetary compensation and to adopt the same legal obligations to accommodate, and not discriminate, against disabled children under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“We just want to make a statement: don’t do this ever again to any family,” said Luis Borjas.
Calvary’s attorney wouldn’t comment because he says he hasn’t seen the complaint.
According to the parent handbook, the director has the right to revoke enrollment based on “…health needs which cannot be met at Calvary Child Development Center…”
“They’re in danger,” said John Snyder.
Snyder is WCCB Charlotte’s legal contributor. He represents several Charlotte churches.
“These families are trying to hold the church accountable as if they were business owners. And the church, if they make a profit from this and it’s not just a ministry, they may have some liability,” said Snyder.
The North Carolina Persons with Disabilities Protection Act states that a place that provides services to the public must accommodate people who have disability.
“When a child needs some help, we expect a school or a church to provide that help for them,” said Jon Dunning.
Attorneys say more families who have been expelled due to medical conditions should contact Van Kampen Law Firm.
Check out the full story and watch the video on wccbcharlotte.com