In Civil Rights

The Disability Rights Legal Center filed a lawsuit this summer in U.S. District Court on behalf of Los Angeles mother Rebecca Magdaleno, whose son was denied access to two preschool programs operated by Options for Learning and the Rowland Unified School District. The lawsuit alleges that the two facilities refused to admit her son and accommodate his severe food allergies, in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act.

The lawsuit is pending before the Hon. Jesus Bernal with a trial date of October 2021.  Ms. Magdaleno seeks monetary damages for her son’s loss of a half-year of pre-school, and improvements in the Defendants’ training and policies in how they work with families of children with food allergies.  Senior Staff Attorney Alexandra Robertson and co-counsel Mary Vargas of Stein & Vargas LLP lead the Plaintiff’s legal team.

Read more in press coverage by Allergic Living:

A hurt and frustrated southern California mom has launched a lawsuit after her son was twice refused admission to preschool programs because of his severe allergies to dairy and eggs.

In a lawsuit filed this week in U.S. District Court, Rebecca Magdaleno is suing both the organization that runs the preschool programs and its surrounding school district. She alleges that Options for Learning and the Rowland Unified School District, located in Los Angeles County, abrogated the rights of her son Sebastian Rodriguez. Her suit says this is contrary to the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and the state’s own Unruh Civil Rights Act. 

In an interview with Allergic Living, Magdeleno said her attempts to enroll Sebastian, who’s now 4, were nothing but a crash course in discrimination. The mother of two is represented by Maryland rights attorney Mary Vargas and advocates from California’s Disability Rights Legal Center. 

Magdaleno says she was open about the severity of her son’s allergies – consuming dairy products, for example, has caused him to have anaphylactic reactions. However, she’d never before thought his allergies would be a barrier to him living a normal life. 

“Just because a child may have a disability, to be made to feel that they are any different, or that you need to be pushier, it’s not right,” she said. “I want people to know it shouldn’t be like that. . . .”

Fitterman, Lisa. “Mom Sues After Allergic Child Twice Barred from Preschools.” Allergic Living. June 9, 2020.

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