Kansas teenager with Down syndrome said store wouldn't let her ride Ferris wheel because of her 'disabilities'

A Kansas teenager with Down syndrome claimed a sporting goods store discriminated against her by initially refusing to let her ride a Ferris wheel. 

Kathryn Embry, 18, and her classmates from Blue Valley North High School in Overland Park made a field trip to a local Scheels All Sports when employees allegedly told the teen that she could not hop on the amusement ride because she had "disabilities," according to WDAF.  

Embry's friends, Emily Kramer and Morgan McGruder, said they were stunned by the incident and recorded a short video of Embry explaining the situation. They posted it on Twitter, where the clip was shared several hundred times. 

"It made me really upset because I know that Kathryn is an amazing girl," McGruder said. 

When news reached Embry's parents, they reached out to the store's manager, who reportedly told them that Scheels had a policy that required everybody to understand the rules before boarding the Ferris wheel. Embry's mother, Karen, however, said that the staff did not bother to ask her daughter if she could grasp the store's rules. 

"The thing, Kathryn has Down syndrome, so you can look at her and see that she has a disability," she said. "But it says nothing about what her capabilities are. She can read the rules. She can follow the rules." 

Embry did eventually get to go on the Ferris wheel — with an adult chaperone. Her friends and family, though, said that she should not have been mistreated in the first place. 

"We're not here about a boycott and shut down a business that's been very generous in our community," the family said in a statement. "We're about educating — not just the community at large, but business — about how even if it's unintentional, it's still illegal and it's still wrong because it perpetuates stereotypes and it hurts a population, especially who are hitting this young adult stage." 

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