Fully-vaccinated Black family removed from flight after son with autism struggles to wear mask
LaShaunda Jethro speaking to local news station KMOV-TV. (Screenshot)

A California family were prevented from a boarding a plane because their son with autism struggled to wear a mask.

LaShaunda Jethro and her family had gone to the St. Louis area for a visit with family and friends, but flight attendants stopped them from returning home to Long Beach because their 17-year-old nonverbal son refuses to wear a mask, reported KMOV-TV.

"He will not keep a mask on his face," said Jethro, who's a nurse practitioner. "We have tried and tried, he just won't do it."

Southwest Airlines makes exemptions for passengers with disabilities if they or their guardian makes a formal request, in addition to having a doctor's note, but Jethro said that didn't matter.

"We get to the door of the plane and the flight attendant is like, 'no, he can't come on, he's gotta wear a mask,'" Jethro said. "I got my phone and pulled out the doctor's letter."

Jethro offered proof that her son was fully vaccinated, and the family was allowed onto the plane after she called the airline and KMOV, but she was removed from the plane before the flight departed because flight attendants say she was not wearing a mask as she talked with the crew.

"I'm just still so in shock and just amazed that this happened, and it's like what else can I do?" Jethro said. "I don't know what else to do besides call corporate. What do we need to do to make sure we're doing the right thing."

The airline disputes her claim that her mask was oversized and wouldn't stay in place, and they were booked onto another flight -- although their luggage was sent ahead on the first flight.

Jethro believes the airline removed her because she called the TV news station, although the company also disputes that claim.


Family forced off Lambert flight after dispute over autistic child struggling with mask www.youtube.com