Sanford man’s lawsuit aims to allow 4-year-old son to fly without a mask. Here’s why

Emergency hearing scheduled for Wednesday

SANFORD, Fla. – An emergency injunction hearing is scheduled for Wednesday in a Massachusetts federal court to address a lawsuit filed by a Sanford man alleging the federal mask mandate discriminates against him and his son.

Michael Seklecki filed the lawsuit and said his 4-year-old son must fly to Boston for specialized medical treatment.

“My son suffers from severe gastrointestinal motility disorders that Boston’s motility center has to treat. They are the best in the nation and Florida cannot provide him the medical care he needs,” Seklecki told News 6.

His son also has an Autism spectrum disorder.

“It’s stressful dealing with all the medical problems that our son has and it’s even worse when you can’t fly to an appointment because your child has a disability and can’t wear a face covering,” Seklecki said.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court on Jan. 28, 2022. The defendants are listed as Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, Department of Health & Human Services, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines and ‘numerous yet-to-be-named employees of the 2 airlines.’

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The lawsuit alleges the mask rule is “unlawful discrimination against the disabled.”

Seklecki said he and his son cannot tolerate wearing a face mask because of his Generalized Anxiety Disorder and his son’s autism spectrum disorder.

“When I have attempted to place a muzzle on him, he refuses and starts yelling. If I try again, he says things such as ‘Get this thing off of me, I’m scared, I can’t breathe, I don’t like this,’” Seklecki said about his son in the lawsuit.

“He has a signed pediatrician letter saying he cannot wear a mask and the airline defendants refused to grant him or even allow him to walk onto the jet bridge of the flight and deny him access to fly and advise us that he is to be treated like an adult even though he can’t wear a mask,” Seklecki told News 6.

The federal transportation mask mandate is scheduled to expire on March 18, 2022.

News 6 reached out to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, Department of Health & Human Services, American Airlines, and Southwest Airlines for comment. Southwest Airlines says it will not comment because litigation is pending. The other defendants did not respond by our Tuesday night deadline.

About the Author:

Phil Landeros joined WKMG-TV as an executive producer in March 2021.