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Grand Forks mom says student exchange organization won't house students with her after a tragedy

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GRAND FORKS - A Grand Forks mom is calling it a case of discrimination.

She says her family is being judged for a tragedy they couldn't stop from happening.

Forum News Service's Kenneth Chase looked into why, she says, her son's suicide could keep them from housing any other children.

"I'm a very giving person. I have a lot of love to give,” said Jonathan Black's mother, Tina Black-Randle.

Tina Black-Randle has hosted foreign exchange students for seven years.

"The students that we had were amazing. We didn't have a bad experience at all,” said Black-Randle.

But her Reynolds, North Dakota family changed forever in April of 2017 when her son Jonathan, a sophomore at Central High School, died by suicide.

Tina says the grieving process will never end.

"It feels frustrating to know that people are trying to decide when your grief should be done or when it shouldn't be done because everyone grieve differently,” said Black-Randle.

The mom decided not to house any students last year in order to deal with her grief.

This year, she tried to go through a program she'd worked with before, the American Scandinavian Student Exchange program, but she was denied.

"Their excuse was that I'm still grieving the loss of my son. And they don't think I'm ready,” said Black-Randle.

When the mother pressed the organization for answers, she said they wouldn't stick to one reason.

Forum News Service spoke directly with the organization asking them if her son's suicide played a role in their decision.

"No that was not the determining factor in this decision,” said American Scandinavian Student Exchange, Saphia Lesch.

"Because of you know her location. That was the main factor. Her remote location as well as availability for students in relation to her work schedule,” said Lesch.

Her home is about 15 miles from Grand Forks Central High School, but only a handful of miles from another nearby school.

They tell Forum News Service her location and work schedule were all reasons why they decided she wasn't ready.

The family says it's another blow they weren't prepared for.

"If their reason for denying my mom into the program was that she was still grieving the loss of her son, then they should've stuck to that. They shouldn't have played around with her,” said Tina’s daughter, Alyssa Black.

"My hopes are that people will see from this that you can't decide a person's grief process. You can't decide their ok or they're not ok if you've never been in their situation,” said Black-Randle.

A grieving mother wanting to nurture more kids.

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