March 18, 2021
A four-year-old nonverbal autistic boy and his family boarded a plane back home to Little Rock but were then removed when the four-year-old had no facemask.
The COVID-19 pandemic took the world by storm and halted life like it was known. Families, organizations, and businesses have adopted certain health measures to curb the spread of the virus.
Chief of these measures is social distancing and the use of face masks. In most public gatherings, individuals are advised to keep a reasonable distance to avoid physical contact while wearing their facemasks.
Horizontal vector illustration of Coronavirus disease COVID-19 medical web banner with SARS-CoV-2 virus molecule and text on a white background. World pandemic 2020 | Photo: Getty Images
In a bid to enforce these health measures, individuals are not allowed access to certain facilities if they do not have a facemask on. Such is the seriousness of these health measures.
Recently, the Kimball family could not travel back to their home in Little Rock because their four-year-old autistic son refused to wear a facemask and was taken off the plane.
Four-year-old Carter and his dad flew to Las Vegas on Spirit Airlines to spend some time with their family and were on a flight back home when the incident happened.
Carter is a non-verbal autistic child with a note from his physician stating he should be exempted from wearing a face mask because of the challenges it poses to him.
She felt her son had a disability and should not have been discriminated against the way he was.
His family said they have always traveled via Spirit Airlines and have not encountered any difficulties until the recent unpleasant experience with their four-year-old.
When Carter and his dad boarded the plane, they showed the flight staff his medical note, but they insisted that the four-year-old should wear a facemask or risk being thrown off the plane.
The airline staff was told that autism is a disability protected under the American Disability Act, but their plea fell on deaf ears, and they were asked to get off.
The incident hurt the Kimball family, especially because their son loved to be on a plane, and being removed from one came as a blow to the little boy.
According to Carter’s mom, Callie, the family asked for a refund, but they are yet to be refunded. Spirit Airline reportedly said that they had issued a refund, but it was delayed by Kimball’s credit card company.
While Callie understands that the COVID-19 pandemic is real and safety is important, she felt her son had a disability and should not have been discriminated against the way he was.
Another incident recently happened in the Idaho Supreme court involving anti-government activist Ammon Bundy who was reportedly arrested for refusing to wear a facemask in court. If and when Bundy makes bail, he will be required to follow the rules of the court.