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Nonverbal 5-Year-Old Booted From Theater For Making Noise

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A girl with a disability was kicked out of a performance of the play “Beauty and the Beast” because she was giggling and humming along with the show, her mother says.

Samantha Torres said she took her two kids and a nurse to see a production of the Disney classic earlier this month at a theater in Providence, R.I. During the show, Torres said her daughter, Nadia, 5, was “squealing and giggling and humming,” noises that the girl who has a chromosomal abnormality and is nonverbal makes when she is happy.

“They did not ask me to leave; they told me I had to leave,” Torres told South Coast Today.

Officials at the Providence Performing Arts Center say they responded appropriately by offering Torres and her group the opportunity to relocate after theatergoers began looking at the girl.

Torres said that her daughter was not bothering anyone other than the ushers and claims she was never offered alternate seating.

Despite the dust-up, however, Torres is optimistic that good will come from the incident. She plans to work with the theater to conduct sensitivity training for their staff.

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Comments (8 Responses)

  1. Scott Standifer says:

    Good for Samantha Torres! It is nice to hear of someone turning an incident into an opportunity to reach out and work for change rather than dwell on offense and anger.

    Dr. Scott Standifer, University of Missouri

  2. Ilene Martin says:

    I’m glad the mom was so broadminded that she offered to help with sensitivity training. Wasn’t she upset for her children? I find this to be abominable. I would not have been so kind.

    I have a son who uses a wheelchair and cannot transfer to a theater seat. There are too many times when he has been posted either behind a pole or has to sit way in the back. We have to pay full price as though he will be sitting in a seat. We have stopped taking him to see shows that he would enjoy because of this. Maybe Mrs. Torres can mention this in her sensitivity training as well. I do not have the patience to do it myself. My son is an adult and I am burned out after all of these years of fighting for his rights!

  3. Maria says:

    Some movie theaters now are having special showings for people (kids) with disabilities. The volume of the film is kept lower (very helpful for people with hypersensitive hearing), and the rules are relaxed to accommodate (or ignore) eccentric behaviors. This is a good business move for the theaters, and builds good will in the community.

  4. Glenn Allen Kirkindall says:

    Beauty and the Beast is a play for youth. Plays for youth often allow youth to participate while watching. But to evict this young girl and not any other youth is a double standard. There should be an apology from the theatre for not sensitizing their ushers.

  5. RobinRead says:

    Hello,
    I was shocked to see this story; not just because it is unfair treatment of this child, but because this also happened to my daughter and myself. We live in New Jersey. My husband and I took our then small daughters to see The Christmas Carol at McCarter Theater in Princeton, N.J. Courtney, who has significant challenges. We were so happy to see her follow the story and respond appropriately to the story. The noises she was making were unacceptable to the theater and we were told to leave. I was devastated. We have never since gone to that theater. It certainly was not a case of “God bless us everyone.” Robin & Courtney.

  6. Kelley Rios says:

    Way to go Samantha! Taking this incident and turning it into a learning opportunity is a powerful message.

  7. Whitney says:

    I mean there tone shows I would love to evict children for crying and screaming in the theaters but for children shows like Beauty and the Beast I would rather have children sing along and show they are enjoying it. For usher to evict a child because he or she is singing along with a play that meant for them to watch is wrong. It seems the usher should be reprimanded about people with disabilities because it is blatant discrimination.

  8. Frank Marone says:

    Rather than to treat this young girl’s current proclivity to squeal and giggle during a video performance, without regard for the venue, as an inherent feature of her disability, I would focus more on the spirit of full inclusion. It is not difficult to teach someone to participate as an audience member in a manner that does not risk disturbing others. Her family shares responsibility for seeking out accommodations that lessen the risk of ruining the entertainment for others. This is how we live our own lives. The theatre is some at fault for insensitivity and some apparent lack of understanding of accommodations. But the family shares responsibility for apparently believing that any behavior must be “accommodated” by virtue of the child being affected by a disability.

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