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Community College denies admission to a 13-year old girl, her parents file age discrimination complaint

 
Orlando Sentinel
 
June 3, 2010
 
In some ways, Anastasia Megan is a typical 13-year-old girl. She enjoys riding her horse on her family's rural Sumter County spread. She loves to scuba dive, kayak and listen to rock music, including Pink Floyd.

But she is not a typical teenager. The home-schooled student has almost completed her high-school education, and her parents, both retired engineers, say they have reached their limit in continuing to challenge her academically. They recently applied for their daughter to take dual-enrollment courses at nearby Lake-Sumter Community College in Leesburg.

But the college gave a firm thumbs down, saying Anastasia — who also goes by Annie — is not ready to sit side by side with older students, most of them adults. Undeterred, her parents have filed an age-discrimination complaint against the college with the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights.

"If she meets all the qualifications but for her age, then why not let her in?" asked her mother, Louise Racine. "What's the worst that can happen, honestly? If a child does pass these tests, don't you think they should be allowed to continue their education to the next level and continue to let their minds grow?"

College President Charles Mojock would not comment specifically on Annie's situation. However, he said Lake-Sumter is an open campus, unlike a gated high school or home-school environment and that could present safety issues for especially young students.

"Anyone basically can walk onto our campus," Mojock said. "So we've got a very different environment [than a high school]. … And we have many adult students having adult conversations on adult topics and that may or may not be suitable for some young students."
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