Babysitter Erika Ganier decided to take 11-year-old Nicho Fajardo to a pumpkin patch festival in Hollywood, California.
Nicho got into a bounce house and began to play when one of the workers kicked him out. Erika says the worker claimed “kids like him” have been hurt, so they aren’t allowed inside.
“I am furious!” Erika said. “I couldn’t even believe what was happening.”
Erika says that while Nicho has Down syndrome, there was no safety issue with the bounce house.
“The other children are running around and jumping, and we have to leave?” she said.
Nicho’s parents say he is doing fine and has forgotten the incident, but they find it unsettling at what they feel is discrimination.
“That’s not right what they did, and they discriminated against him,” his father said. “Why? because he has a disability or he’s special needs?”
The manager implied that the family was making too big a deal out of this. He said that parents with disabilities should call ahead of time. The owner left a voicemail for the family.
“I am so, so sorry,” the owner said. “You make arrangements for him to be, a day ahead of time, to where it’s not busy because you know how kids are bullies and stuff.”
Down syndrome advocate Sandra Barker says this practice is illegal.
“There’s no legal reason that you could possibly do that, exclude a child from participating in any activity,” Sandra said. “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.”
The family came forward with their story because it is Down syndrome awareness month, and they want others to know that there are still some unique hurdles out there.
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