Thirteen-year-old Colin Carlson, a child prodigy and sophomore at the University of Connecticut, was not allowed to enroll in a ecology class that included a three-trip to South Africa. Carlson was, the professor said, too young to go.
According to ABC News, Carlson’s mother objected:
Benying her son enrollment in the class was a violation of state and federal law and of the university’s own anti-discrimination policy, [Jessica] Offir said.
“To base your opinion of a person on his age is no different than to base it on their sex, religion, race or group membership,” she said.
University of Connecticut spokesman Michael Kirk declined to be interviewed but said in a written statement, “The university doesn’t comment on pending claims or litigation. Speaking generally, when it comes to study-abroad programs, student safety is our first concern.”
Offir offered to accompany her son on the trip, at her own expense, but Carlson was still not allowed into the class. Offir has filed a complaint about the class with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.
This is not the first time Carlson has been forced to alter his plans due to the safety concerns of higher education officials. In 2008 he decided not to attend his first-choice school, Connecticut College, after administration decided Carlson wouldn’t be allowed to enter college dormitories.