Babysitter Says Boy, 11, With Down Syndrome Was Booted From Pumpkin Patch
He was playing in the bouncy house when workers reportedly asked them to leave.
The parents and the babysitter of an 11-year-old boy, who has Down syndrome, were left outraged when they say he was kicked out of a California pumpkin patch.
"I am furious!" Erika Ganier, the boy’s babysitter, told CBS LA. “I was shocked, I couldn't even believe what was happening."
Ganier said she was at the Van Nuys pumpkin patch with Nicho Fajardo when the incident occurred. She said he was having a blast inside the bouncy house when an employee told her that he wasn't allowed because “kids like him” have been hurt.
The babysitter said she assured workers that there was no safety issue, but she said the workers insisted.
“The other children are running around and jumping and we have to leave” Ganier said.
While he's since forgotten what happened, Nicho’s parents said it was not right.
“They discriminate[d] against him,” Nicho’s father said. “Why? Because he has a disability or he’s special needs?”
Ganier posted her account of what happened to social media saying, "He [Nicho] was affected by this experience but he did not know how to express it.”
Her post has been shared nearly 2,000 times as of Wednesday afternoon.
A manager at the pumpkin patch reportedly told CBS LA that Ganier was so loud that “she made two little girls cry,” but the owner also left a voicemail for Nicho’s parents that they shared with the news station.
The owner claimed he was worried about the child's safety.
"I am so, so sorry,” the voicemail said. "You make arrangements for him to be, a day ahead of time, to where it’s not busy because you now how kids are, bullies and stuff."
Advocate Sandra Baker said that doing that is likely illegal, however.
"There's no legal reason that you could possibly do that, exclude a child from participating in any activity. He could have a day where it's specifically for children with disabilities but you also have to welcome them any day, any day that you have an activity," Baker said.
The family said they want an apology and hope to raise awareness.
"It's just upsetting, you know, my son's always been an inclusion kid. To think people still nowadays treat him different... I'm glad I wasn't there to see his reaction,” Nicho's mother, Maria Fajardo, said.
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