June 12, 2009

Roncalli student wins right to attend public school summer session

Criterion staff report

A Roncalli High School student is attending summer school at a public high school thanks to a recent decision ratified by the Indiana State Board of Education.

The male Roncalli student, who needs to make up a first semester English class, was twice denied the opportunity to take summer school classes in the Franklin Community Schools, said Ron Costello, superintendent of Catholic schools for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

“The reason given by the high school was that they did not have to accept private school students,” Costello said.

With the support of Roncalli High School officials and the archdiocesan attorney, the parents petitioned the State of Indiana to allow their child to attend summer school in the public school corporation.

After a hearing in early June where a hearing officer sided with the Roncalli student and his right to attend public summer school, members of the Franklin County School Corporation board of trustees appealed to the Indiana State Board of Education.

The State Board of Education unanimously agreed to uphold the hearing officer’s decision allowing the Roncalli student to attend summer school in the Franklin Community Schools.

“These [public schools] are tax-funded programs,” Costello said, “and kids don’t lose their rights because they go to private schools.

“Parents [who send their children to private school] have the right to use other public services that their tax dollars support,” Costello added.

The Roncalli student was scheduled to begin summer school in the Franklin Community Schools on June 8. †

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