B.C. teen excluded from prom after chronic illness keeps her away from school

Triss Hunter of Mission was told she missed too many days of school, can’t go to the graduation event

A Mission teenager who suffers from a chronic illness has been told she can’t attend her prom because she has missed too many classes.

Triss Hunter, a Grade 11 student at Mission Secondary School, says she has missed about 100 days of school, but not because she skips out or tries to ditch class.

Hunter has a condition called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. It’s a disorder that affects the connective tissues supporting the skin, bones and blood vessels.

According to Hunter, the condition causes chronic pain and dislocations that can occur at any time.

Last week, she found out that ll of those absences were the reason she will not be permitted to go to prom.

Hunter and her mother Sarah don’t think the decision is fair.

“My grades are not perfect, because I do miss a lot of school. But I’m getting passing grades. I’m passing all my classes, but for prom, it’s just the attendance,” Triss said.

Although she is in Grade 11, Triss said this is her last year at Mission Secondary so she applied to go to the prom, along with her friend Isaiah.

After filling out the paperwork, Triss says her application was denied by the school principal.

She and her mom appealed, talking to the principal, but the school did not change its mind.

Then she took her case to the Mission school board, but found out yesterday that the board had sided with the school.

Triss said the situation isn’t fair and wonders if she was supposed to miss her therapy sessions and doctor’s appointments.

“Is school more important than my health?” she asks.

Triss said the school indicated that most of her absences were unexcused – which usually means no one phoned in to inform the school or no doctor’s notes were provided.

But Triss says she doesn’t know ahead of time that she is going to suffer an attack.

“There are sometimes when I miss weeks of school or even a month. Or there are some days when I can go to school for one class then the pain gets so bad that I can’t go to the rest of my classes.

“All my teachers are supportive. They know I have a disability … they see me every day. They know my struggle, but because the school board and everyone else doesn’t see it – it’s inside of me and you can’t really see it on the outside – they think it’s all in my head.”

When she does attend school, Triss always brings her service dog, Meadow.

“She has been trained for anxiety and mobility issues.”

Triss’ mother, Sarah, says the events of the last few weeks have taken a toll on her daughter.

“It’s really tough what she’s going through and it’s making her anxieties worse.”

Sarah is still hopeful that the situation can be resolved, but the prom is just a week away, May 12, and time is running out.

“She has already bought her outfit. It’s sad that she can’t go,” Sarah said.

“It’s like they are punishing her …”

“For having a disability,” says Triss, finishing her mom’s sentence.

When asked for comment, Mission superintendent of schools, Angus Wilson, said he could not discuss individual students.

However, he can say that parents and students are “all very aware of the criteria” to attend prom.

“They are given many opportunities to resolve concerns and situations,” Wilson said.

He added that, as far as attendance is concerned, parents or students “have a number of weeks” to call in to explain and excuse attendance issues.

“The school is very flexible about making allowances and making accommodations and ways to resolve concerns and so on,” said Wilson, adding both sides have to work together in these situations.

Wilson also said the “priority for prom, of course, is Grade 12 students.”

Just Posted

City of Nanaimo wants conditions placed on any Discontent City extension

City wants to see nine conditions should the homeless camp remain after Friday’s court hearing

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: School squat hurt activists’ cause

Any support you people may have had I’m sure is now cut in half, says letter writer

Nanaimo gets ready to rumble with Great B.C. Shake Out

Prepare for disaster drill by checking survival supplies and planning for real seismic event

Nanaimo bluesman David Gogo releases new album, ‘17 Vultures’

Gogo currently touring in Ontario but will be back in Nanaimo for a CD release show next month

Candidates make their case to be part of Nanaimo’s next council

Select candidates’ debates held Monday at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre

VIDEO: First legal cannabis purchases as midnight strikes in eastern Canada

Newfoundland and Labrador was the first province to kick off the sale of cannabis, just after midnight local time

Candidate lists finalized for Nanaimo, Lantzville, RDN, school district

Nomination deadline passes in advance of Oct. 20 local government elections

Election 2018: candidate questionnaires

News Bulletin’s questionnaire responses for Nanaimo, Lantzville, school board, regional district

Boeser tallies in OT as Canucks beat Penguins 3-2

Vancouver wins without star rookie Pettersson

Candidate wants to bring her experience back to the school board table

TerryLynn Saunders one of 20 candidates running for Nanaimo Ladysmith school trustee

Nanaimo council candidates talk about public consultation and branding the city

Chase River town hall candidates’ meeting was held Sunday afternoon

Mayor of Kamloops says ‘history has been made’ with vote on B.C.’s lone pot shop

The store to be run by the province in B.C.’s Interior is opening Wednesday as pot sales become legal across Canada

U.S. pot firm urges Trump to deny Canadian producers ‘competitive advantage’

The challenge for U.S. firms lies in the fact that while recreational cannabis is legal in nine states and medicinal pot in 22 others, it remains illegal under federal law

Government says imprisoned Canadian terror suspects must face consequences

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale showed little sympathy Tuesday for such individuals who now want to return to Canada

Most Read