OKLAHOMA CITY, (CNN) – An Oklahoma family says they were discriminated against at a water park because of their daughter’s prosthetic leg.
8-year-old Averie Mitchell was born with a condition that caused her right leg to have to be amputated below the knee. But her prosthetic has never stopped her from having fun. “I can do a cartwheel on the balance beam. Right now i’m working on back walkovers,” she said.
She does everything a kid with two normal legs does – and more. That’s why she and her family were so shocked on Saturday at Frontier City’s Wild West Water Works park in Oklahoma City. Over the weekend she wanted go down a water slide. But, the water park wouldn’t allow it. “We were getting ready to go down the slide and the attendant stepped in front of the slide and told Averie you can’t go down,” said Averie’s mother Kim.
Averie and her mom walked all the way back down to speak with the lead attendant who told them the prosthetic could scratch their slides. “I was angry, I was upset. My child was crying. She thought she had done something wrong,” said Kim Mitchell. “I was kind of mad and sad,” said Averie.
Averie’s father John Mitchell, says Frontier City discriminated. “I think they absolutely discriminated against her, given the reason that it could scratch their slide. People wear bracelets, watches, rings,” he said.
And even though management claimed it was part of their policy, the Mitchells say it is not on any sign, nor is the rule posted on the online regulations. “We go to a lot of different places and never have we been treated like this,” said John Mitchell.
The family says they were humiliated as they were escorted to the front of the park by security so they could speak to a manager. They say the policy needs to be more clear. “Put it out there so other kids or whoever you know they’re not on top of the slide getting ready to start their day of fun at the water park when they’re told sorry, you’ve got to leave,” said John Mitchell.
Frontier City said in a statement that safety is the park’s first priority. They also said restrictions had already been added to their website and they’re working on getting them on the signs at the park. The family did get a refund on the cost of the park tickets. Frontier City added it deeply regrets any disappointment caused to the family.