Girl Scouts Reject Girl With Autism

"No one is served by this action," said Alessandri. "The child with autism misses out on an opportunity that is rightfully theirs. And others miss out on the joy of learning about people with autism who are always remarkable in so many ways."

Under law, the Girl Scouts -- if it receives federal funding -- is required to make a "reasonable accommodation" for Magi under the Americans With Disabilities Act, according to Alison Barnes, a law professor at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wis.

Asking Magi to travel a long distance for another troop would not meet the letter of the law, Barnes said.

"What happened here instead is [Magi] got a troop that said, 'OK, we'll try it.' Then after one day they said, 'Never mind, we don't want to do it,'" Barnes told

But in a similar case in 2006, a California court struck down a suit filed by parents who claimed their teenage son -- who had a form of autism - was not allowed to attend a weeklong Boy Scout camp.

Lawyers for the troop argued that the boy, "spits, kicks and swears at the other children."

The court dismissed the case, ruling that Boy Scouts -- which also openly discriminates against gays and atheists -- is a private club.

But the Girl Scouts has been historically open to anyone and prides itself on its anti-discrimination policies.

The Klageses say the local council called them this week to help find another troop for Magi.

"They want to work with us and we'll continue to work with them," said Michele Klages. "Magi really wants to be a Girl Scout, but it's important to find a troop that's a good fit for her."

But Magi won't go back to the troop that kicked her out. "These leaders need to be educated and they can't pick which disabilities they want in the troop," her mother said. "It's not their call."

"Every child needs more than one chance in a new situation," she said. "I'm a mother protecting my child. I want people to know this is not something to fear."

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