Autistic Girl Kicked out of Girl Scout Troop

Filed under: In The News

Like many autistic children, 8-year-old Magi Klages finds new situations to be stressful. So her parents weren't surprised when she began acting out by biting herself and running around at her first gathering with her new Girl Scout troop in Wisconsin earlier this month. But despite the fact that the troop she joined was specifically created for children with special needs, the troop leader decided that Magi was a "danger" to the other children and promptly kicked her out of the troop.

"To feel like someone doesn't want your child around, it rips your heart out," said Magi's mother, Michele Klages. "I never expected my child to be discriminated against. Never in a million years."

Even a spokeswoman for the Girl Scouts admits kicking Magi out goes against everything the organization stands for. "We are very inclusive and have a national policy against all forms of discrimination," said Michelle Thompkins.

Because the Girl Scouts receive federal funding, they are required under the Americans With Disabilities Act to make a "reasonable accommodation" for children like Magi. This troop leader, a mother of a disabled child herself, clearly did not put much effort into accommodating Magi. Perhaps she should read the Autism Society of America's booklet Growing Up Together, written to help children understand the disorder and learn how to befriend a child with autism.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.