A Queens mother has sued the New York Department of Education after her daughter with OCD was singled out for not wearing her school uniform.
The childâ€™s mother, Rosemary Powell of Maspeth, claims her 5-year-old daughter cannot wear the uniform due to her obsessive-compulsive disorder, which causes the child to experience â€śsensory and obsessive rituals relating to her clothing.â€ť
The lawsuit accuses Public School 290 principal Mieasia Harris of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. Powellâ€™s daughter, a kindergarten student identified only as â€śH.H.â€ť, has reportedly suffered from OCD since she was 2 years old.
â€śDue to her OCD disability, H.H. reacted to the feeling of the clothing on her body and was physically unable to wear the uniform,â€ť reads the lawsuit, filed Friday in Brooklyn Federal Court. â€śA common manifestation of [OCD] is when certain clothing materials feel uncomfortable on their skin or restrictive on their bodies .â€¦ When this occurs, children with OCD refuse to wear the clothing.â€ť
Powell also claims that Harris ignored her request for exemption from the policy that requires all students to wear a green shirt and khaki pants.
Powell states that Harris â€śsingled out H.H. for failing to wear her uniform to school,â€ť removed the student from class, and â€śembarrassed H.H. by meeting her at the bus stop in the morning to ask, in front of the other students, why she wasnâ€™t wearing the uniform.â€ť
Powell adds that her daughter â€śrepeatedly came home crying about being yelled at by defendant Harris over the uniform.â€ť
When the mother met with the principal to discuss her daughterâ€™s disability, Harris reportedly stated, â€śIf you made your daughter wear her uniform, we would not need this meeting.â€ť
At a second meeting, Powell claims that she provided the principal with medical documentation regarding her daughterâ€™s OCD, to which Harris threatened to have the girl removed from the school if she did not wear her uniform.
The kindergartener was also reportedly kicked out of the schoolâ€™s Girl Scouts program after Harris complained that the child had worn her uniform less than 10 school days out of 84.
According to Courthouse News, Powell is seeking â€śan injunction, costs and attorneyâ€™s fees and damages for discrimination, violations of her daughter's civil rights, and violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act.â€ť