‘Her behavior was inexcusable’: Supercuts apologizes after manager refuses mom at autistic son’s haircut
Company says it was a misunderstanding of COVID guidelines
AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - A company issues an apology to an Amarillo family, after a local Supercuts wouldn’t allow the mother to accompany her autistic son for a haircut.
Angelia Curtis says her son Eli has been to the Supercuts at I-40 and Grand in Amarillo countless times.
He has autism, and there are two women there who have historically done a great job with him.
However, a recent visit went differently. She said when they arrived at Supercuts, they went through the traditional COVID-19 screenings, but that wasn’t the issue.
“She told me ‘well he is going to have to come in by himself,’ and I said I’m not okay with this,” said Angelia. “He’s an 8-year-old autistic child.”
She said her husband Dustin typically takes Eli in for the haircuts, so he decided to give them a call, but Supercuts defended the decision.
Angelia later called them back to speak to the manager, who told her they would not bend the rules.
Angelia claims the manager told her five-year old’s go in for haircuts by themselves.
“I told her ‘I’m sorry, I’m doing this to protect you guys because if he were to have a meltdown during his haircut, you would need me there to calm the situation down and decompress him’,” said Angelia. “She told me I could stand outside and watch but my problem with this, how do you know what they’re saying to him? Are they being mean? You don’t know.”
“I told her he had rights under the ADA, and she was not willing to accommodate this,” she said.
I spoke with Stephanie Wright, the director of speech therapy at the Turn Center, to get her professional perspective.
While she hasn’t personally evaluated the situation, she stressed the importance of child advocacy.
“These parents can be their child’s advocate, and their buffer and they know their children better than anyone else,” said Wright. “Children with special needs tend to process the world differently, therefore making accommodations allows these children to still participate in these experiences and do the things they need to do to get their needs met while still feeling safe.”
The Curtis family went on to contact the Better Business Bureau, which has since opened up an investigation.
They also contacted the Supercuts corporate and received a letter from the President of the company Tucorp, apologizing for the experience.
The company pledged to ensure something like this would never happen again by having a system-wide review of the ADA requirements and clarifying how these requirements take precedence over any COVID guidelines.
You can read the full letter here:
When asked about how they felt about the apology, the Curtis family said they had mixed feelings
“They stepped out of their comfort zone to send an apology letter,” said Eli’s father, Dustin. “They didn’t have to do that, but I wish that maybe something else could be done. That’s why we’re doing this. We’re going to be the ones who stand up and fight for [kids with disabilities]. Autistic, down syndrome it doesn’t matter, just anybody who’s disabled. That’s what we’re doing this for.”
Angelia says she would still like to hear and apology from the local Supercuts manager.
When NewsChannel10 reached out to the manager, she said she was simply following protocol for the safety of their employees and others.
Angelia and Dustin advise other parents with special needs children to know their rights and stand up for themselves and their child, because someone must.
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