Furious Mom Says Salon Canceled Her Boy’s Appointment Because He Has Down Syndrome


Fox8News

For parents of kids with disabilities, one of the most important things is making sure their children are treated fairly and with respect. But that's not what happened when Wisconsin mom Katlyn Oelke tried to book a hair appointment for her son, Matthew, who has Down syndrome. After booking the appointment online, she says the salon's owner discriminated against her son by canceling the appointment because Matthew was "not a good fit for my stylists."

  • Oelke shared the email she got from the salon's owner in a local support group for parents of kids with disabilities.

    "It has been brought to my attention by my stylist that they feel your haircut service you have book is not a good fit for your needs with us," the email reads. "My stylists are not comfortable with serving your child ... You need to seek another children's salon for your services."

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  • It didn't take long for the mom's post to go viral.

    It ended up being shared over 400 times and amassed dozens of angry comments, like this one calling the stylists "ignorant" and hoping for the media to get involved.

  • "Definitely discriminatory and heartbreaking," one person wrote. "I think we should make a big damn scene with signs, etc."

  • Some even went so far as to leave negative comments and reviews on the salon's Facebook page.

  • In a comment on the salon's Facebook page the owner clarified that they cater to all children but she did not have a stylist who felt suited to serve Oelke's son.

    Stylist Justine Rossey, who says she's cut the little boy's hair in the past, backs up the owner's claims. She tells Fox8 she was not available at the time of the boy's appointment, and the stylist Oelke booked wasn't sure she could adequately serve them based on notes the salon kept about how Matthew reacted to haircuts in the past. "Basically, all that it was about is the stylist that was able to work with a child that's moving because we don't want to injure anybody,” she explained.

  • But Oelke says the owner's and stylist's excuses simply aren't good enough.

    "If she would have called, explained her concerns -- because not once was safety brought up, until people were getting at her,” Oelke told Fox8. "And I get it. He can be difficult. But he's afraid. It's not like he's destructive. It's not like he's hurting anybody.”

    People have posted on Facebook that Oelke and the salon owner are in contact to try resolve the situation, though it's unclear what's being done at this time. Obviously no business owner wants to put a child at risk, but for Oelke and her supporters, this was a serious and heartbreaking miscommunication, and many still argue that much more could have been to accommodate their needs. 

discrimination disability