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

Former Capitals invited to NHL development camps

Three ex-BCHL players join Duncan product at summer training sessions

Cowichan papers are national award winners

Reporter Sarah Simpson was recognized twice for her efforts

Drought alert posted for Koksilah and Chemainus Rivers

Around the Cowichan region hot, dry weather is drying up tributary streams as well

‘Amazing Race Canada’ competitors face Cowichan challenge

They drove Corvettes, mastered falconry basics, and even ate blueberry pie on Day 3

92-year-old Duncan man a fundraising dynamo

Duncan’s Fred Konkin does his bit to help charities

VIDEO: Trudeau shuffles familiar faces, adds new ones to expanded cabinet

Justin Trudeau shuffles his front bench Wednesday to install the roster of ministers that will be entrusted with leading the Liberal team into next year’s election.

Grizzly bear jumps in river, chases B.C. kayaker

The bear got a bit too close for comfort along the Elaho River near Squamish

Island man convicted of 1999 sex assault at Fraser Valley music festival

James Allen Redden, formerly of Nanaimo, was found guilty of three charges

Parks Canada looks to shine light on cloudy future for historic sites

A plan is in place to produce 10-year plans designed to turn around sagging attendance figures

B.C. poet shines a bright light on struggle with homelessness

Book launch for John La Greca’s Homeless Memorial is at Vernon’s Gallery Vertigo July 21.

Ontario police say attack on Muslim man was motivated by hate

Two men, aged 27 and 19, have been charged with assault in the incident

City orders largest Kinder Morgan protest camp to leave

Residents of Camp Cloud near the Trans Mountain work site have 72 hours to leave

14-year-old pilot attempts to break Guinness World Record at B.C. airport

Mohd Shaikhsorab wants to become youngest pilot with fewest hours logged to fly solo

Price no guarantee for safety with horse riding helmets: new report

A Swedish insurance report reveals that many brands of equestrian helmets do not protect riders as well as they could.

Most Read