A Colorado mom told Fox & Friends that Southwest Airlines kicked her family off of a flight over fears that her three-year-old son might remove his mask.
Caroline Scott said Friday morning that her son, Orion, has sensory processing disorder which makes him feel sensations like touch and smell more strongly than others. She told Southwest Airlines ahead of time that wearing a mask was challenging for Orion because of his sensory processing disorder, but that he had worked with an occupational therapist and was capable of doing it. (RELATED: ‘We Have Lost Our Ever-Loving Minds’: Airline Draws Big Rebukes For Family Kicked Off Plane Over Child Not Wearing Mask)
“He’s been working really hard with his occupational therapist, with his doctors, with us as his parents,” Scott said. “And so I’d called the airline ahead of time just to let them know that my son had sensory processing disorder and that we didn’t need an exemption, he can wear his mask and he will, but that if he had any frustration or difficulties that we as his parents had the tools and skills we needed to help him to cope with that and to keep his mask on.”
Scott said that when she called Southwest ahead of time to give them this information, someone told her that they would make a note on his ticket and that there would be no issue. When she got to the gate, however, the gate agent said they had to get a supervisor to approve the family to fly. The supervisor then began talking to the pilot, Scott said.
“He said something to the pilot of, yo, this kid has some kind of facial issue where he might not keep his mask on,” Scott continued. “And I tried to interject, I tried to tell them that’s not the situation, he can keep his mask on I have doctor’s notes, an occupational therapist note, supporting us, but they wouldn’t listen to me. They wouldn’t talk to me. They wouldn’t look at the notes. So we were walked off of the jetway, the supervisor then said ‘can you 100% your son will keep his mask on?’ And we said yes, and he can do it with our support.”
They were allowed to get on the plane but were promptly told that they needed to get off even though Scott’s son had not removed his mask.
“We were discriminated against,” she said. “So the supervisor in front of a plane full of people said ‘I’m sorry your family needs to get off the plane. The captain does not feel comfortable with your family on it today.’” (RELATED: Airline Bans Alaska Lawmaker For Repeatedly Violating Mask Policy, Making Her Commute Infinitely Harder)
“We were de-planed not for our behaviors but for disclosing my son’s disability – which is discrimination,” Scott added. “So Southwest has sent me a blanketed statement of, ‘a specialist will be in touch within 30 days’ but that’s been it. And families are going to be traveling this summer, and so this is not the first or the last time it’s going to happen, and I don’t want this to continue to happen.”