DOWNEY (CBSLA.com) — A lawsuit by a former Downey High School student alleges she was removed from jazz choir because she was diagnosed with epilepsy.
Because the case is under seal, a judge wouldn’t allow CBS2 to show the girl’s face nor reveal her identity.
“Music is a big part of my life,” said the girl, identified only as S.L.
She performed in the Downey High School jazz choir but says she was later told she would not be allowed to continue.
Her lawsuit alleges that she was removed because she was diagnosed with epilepsy, a condition in the brain that causes uncontrollable seizures.
“S.L.’s case represents what a lot of students go through that have disabilities that are either not really understood,” says Janeen Steel, the executive director of the Learning Rights Law Center in Los Angeles.
“She has a right to be in school, go to school every day, be safe, be able to participate in her jazz choir, and not be excluded because of her disability,” Steel said.
The Downey Unified School District responded with a written statement, which said in part:
“The school worked with her and her mother throughout her high school career and provided her with a program that met her individual needs.”
S.L. is now a college freshman and says she hopes her case will help other high school students who are dealing with disabilities.
“I don’t want kids with epilepsy or any disability or anyone to feel afraid to speak out,” she said.
She adds that kids with disabilities should never be afraid to follow their dreams.