PASADENA, Texas – A 15-year-old Pasadena girl with a rare neurological disorder returned to classes at Memorial High School for the first time since January when she was suspended for allegedly being under the influence.
The problem is, Jazmin Garcia says she was not on drugs at school that day, but cops and school staff continued interrogating her as if she was. They did not contact her parents, nor did they call EMS.
“But instead,” says attorney Randall Kallinen, “They put Jazmin in danger.”
Immediately after being kicked out, Jazmin underwent a full drug screening at a local hospital and came up clean. Despite the medical proof, her dizziness and inability to walk remained a mystery and she remained on suspension.
With the help of attorneys and the medical community, Jazmin now knows she has Dysautonomia. It is a rare genetic disorder that could be life-threatening, yet often goes undiagnosed.
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Garcia, her family and attorneys filed an appeal.
At a hearing, several PISD employees gave their opinion Jazmin was “under the influence of an unknown substance,” but the panel took into consideration medical records from a specialist that diagnosed Jazmin with the neurological condition which causes dizziness, vertigo and poor balance and affects up to three million people in the U.S.
“Pasadena ISD owes Jazmin an apology. An unequivocal apology saying we’re sorry,” Attorney Gene Wu said.
Wu said UT Health, UT Physicians and Memorial Hermann had Jazmin’s back. They got her to a specialist. If it wasn’t for the medical community, Jazmin would still be expelled.
“Jazmin’s treatment by Pasadena ISD is beyond outrageous. Not only did they fail to provide her with proper medical care, they criminalized her medical condition,” Wu said. “They forced her to prove her innocence. If she didn’t have a great community supporting her, she would have been expelled because of a frequently misdiagnosed medical condition.”
Jazmin, her family, lawmakers, members of the public and attorneys for the family spoke out about the criminalization of youth in schools and the often undiagnosed neurological condition at a press conference Wednesday.
“Denying students with such symptoms medical care is dangerous and such policies need to be changed,” Kallinen said.