Mother with autistic teenage son kicked off flight for mask compliance issues


A family says they were forced off of a flight due to their autistic, nonverbal son struggling to wear a face mask.

“He’s autistic. He has a hard time, so he’s nonverbal. But he’s a joy. I can’t imagine my life without him,” Lashaunda Jethro, the mother of 17-year-old Trey, said. “He will not keep a mask on his face. We have tried and tried. He just won’t do it.”

The situation unfolded in St. Louis on Sunday as Jethro, her husband, and Trey boarded a Southwest return flight to Long Beach.

The airline allows for mask exemptions for people with disabilities if the passenger or guardian fills out paperwork and has a doctor’s note.

“We get to the door of the plane, and the flight attendant is like ‘No, he can’t come on. He got to wear a mask.’ I got my phone out, pulled out the doctor’s letter, and she was like, ‘Well, no, this has to come from corporate, and you have to do this before you get on the plane,’” Jethro, a nurse practitioner, recounted.

Jethro said she explained the family was vaccinated against the coronavirus, and tried to show the flight attendant her son’s vaccination card.

The family was eventually allowed to board the flight but were asked to leave once they sat in their seats. – READ MORE

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