Oct 20, 2012 12:04 AM by Lupita Murillo

Family fights for their children's education

TUCSON - A local family is fighting for the education of their three children, after they say the Catalina School District denied their open enrollment application because of their daughter's medical condition.

Desiree and Nicholas Poire say they value the quality of their children's education. They became outraged after receiving a letter from the Catalina Foothills School District denying their enrollment.

Trinity, 6, is at the center of the controversy. She was born with a heart defect. Desiree says her daughter told her, "mommy my heart is as big as everybody else's. Why can't I go to school there, and as a mom I can't answer that."

Nor can she answer why her daughter was born with a heart defect. She's had multiple surgeries.

Older sister Natalie and brother Brenan have been with her. They were also told they couldn't attend school in the district because of their sister's condition. "This is not right and I demand answers."

The answer came in an email from Superintendent Mary Kamerzell stating "Your child needs medical support that will require us to hire additional RN time. This is why your application was denied."

She also denies discriminating against children with disabilities, saying they have numerous students with disabilities attending under Arizona's Open Enrollment Program.

Nicholas Poire is in the military, and says he's fighting for the rights his children deserve.

"I can serve the country and go to foreign theatres they can't even let them into school," he said.

The Poire family says they're not giving up. They believe in standing up for what's right . This is a lesson they want to teach their children at home so that their children can carry it into the classroom.

News 4 contacted the Catalina Foothills School District Superintendent by phone and email.

Dr. Mary Kamerzell has not responded.

Pima County School Superintendent Dr. Linda Arzoumanian says she's never experienced a student being denied open enrollement based on a medical condition.

Her office sent this statement. "State law doesn't necessarily limit admission but rather puts the onus on a school board to set open enrollment policies for district administration to follow."


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