Mom says school threatens to suspend autistic boy over essential oils

School officials say they will work with family to find better solution than suspension

By Sheli Muniz - Reporter

EUSTIS, Fla. - A Central Florida mom has won a battle with a Lake County School which once threatened to suspend her son because of the essential oils she uses to treat his autism.

[MORE: Local 6 talks with mom, son ]

The company who makes the essential oils describes them as being "beautifully and powerfully fragrant." The family uses oils with scents like lavender, chamomile and sandalwood.

"These are the three he gets in the morning. We put it behind his ears and on his neck," said Jessica Kemp, as she showed Local 6 the oils.

Logan Kemp, 5, will tell you that he loves Seminole Springs Elementary School, but his mother said this week the Eustis school threatened to suspend the kindergartner over the essential oils. Kemp said the oils help Logan's behavior issues that come with his autism.

"Why is it not OK? Nobody is telling me. I'm just being told that he smells," said Kemp.

The family has been using them all school year. Kemp said a teacher's aide once complained about it, but never any students.

"I haven't been told that anybody's been switched out of the room," said Kemp.

Kemp said she got a letter from the district stating that the odor from the oils has presented a problem in the environment for the other students and staff.

"I could put chemicals in his body, but I can't put anything natural on him that has some kind of smell?" Kemp said.

Kemp said she will continue fighting for the oils as long as it helps her son.

"I've had days that I've been crying because it gets hard," she said.

A school district representative told Local 6 on Wednesday they were aware of the situation and were looking into it.

On Thursday, Lake County Schools said they will not suspend Logan for the essential oils and called it a health issue.

District officials said they will work with the student's family and school administrators to find a better solution. 

"There are a lot of conversations that are going to take place to try to find the best solution for everyone involved," said Sherri Owens, schools spokeswoman. ?"I do know that there have been some complaints about adverse affects from the oil because of the strong scent."

 

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