Ministry Plans Dance For Teen With Cancer Barred From School's Winter Formal

By: Matt Howerton Email
By: Matt Howerton Email
An area ministry is putting on a dance for a Central Texas girl with cancer who was barred from her high school winter formal because the district that provided her with homebound services says she’s no longer a student.

Lizzie Grissam (Courtesy photo)

TEAGUE (February 6, 2013)—Middle of the Road Ministry of Fairfield is organizing a dance for Lizzie Grissam, 18, the Teague high school senior who was barred from attending the school’s winter formal because the district no longer considers her a student.

The Teague Senior Center is providing its building for the dance on March 16.

Grissam will choose colors, decorations and will be able to invite whomever she wants, organizers said Wednesday.

Grissam has been battling Langerhans cell histiocytosis since she was 10, which left her with diabetes and a laundry list of prescriptions she must take.

Because of the cancer, she’s been part of the Teague ISD’s homebound education program, which supplies a teacher to students who can't leave their home.

Grissam finished her schooling October, however, and with no more work to do, all that’s left is for Grissam is to participate in commencement ceremonies.

She was also eagerly awaiting the high school’s Senior Winter Formal, which was held over the weekend, but she was told two days before the dance that she couldn’t go because she’s technically a former student.

Sharon Whittington, Grissam's mother, was outraged.

"They were like OK you're through with your classes, now go on with your life," Whittington said.

"There are just so many experiences these kids need to go through in high school. This is one of the last few chances she has to see all of her friends,” she said.

"Sometimes I just wonder what my life would be like in school if I didn't have cancer," Grissam said.

"There's a lot of stuff that I can't do. I can't be a regular teenager," Grissam said.

Teague School Superintendent Ned Burns said in a statement that the district followed policy in barring Grissam from the dance.

"Only current high school students may attend school sponsored dances. Her request was denied in accordance with the past practice of the school. What we do for one, we do for all in this matter,” he said.

The Texas Education Agency says it’s up to local districts to determine the status of a student.

The TEA refers to the students' transcripts to determine whether they’ve graduated.

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