ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. - A local mother is accusing the Girl Scouts of discriminating against her daughter for being deaf.
Vanessa LoSauro is like most 9-year-old girls, happy, energetic, and obsessed with all things "Frozen."
"She's always wanted to be a Girl Scout selling cookies and making new friends," said her mother, Sloan LoSauro.
Sloan LoSauro said her daughter was rejected because she's deaf.
"I cried for days. It broke my heart," said Sloan LoSauro.
She said she and another parent have been fighting for 2 1/2 years to get their daughters into the St. Augustine troop.
LoSauro paid the startup fees and waited for months for a response from the troop leader and showed Action News the emails back and forth to prove it.
"She would say, 'Well, where do you want her?' 'I don't have room for her in my troop' or 'We don't have a troop anymore' or 'None of the troops have volunteers,'" said LoSauro.
In an email, the troop leader even suggested they start a deaf troop instead.
"She said to me, 'How would you feel just starting a troop for the girls at their school?' and I explained to her that I didn't want to do that, because Vanessa has sound, and it's important for them to be with different kids," said LoSauro.
Vanessa wears a cochlear implant. Her mother even offered to interpret for them.
"What's ironic is the founder of the Girl Scouts was deaf so I don't understand all this prejudice," said LoSauro.
Action News reached out to the CEO of the Girl Scouts troop in Jacksonville, and she said she wasn't aware of the situation, but said they now have a troop for deaf students. They released this statement:
As inclusion is a core value in Girl Scouts, Girl Scouts of Gateway Council is thrilled to be working with the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind to establish a second Girl Scout troop at the school for day students. We partner with the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind to deliver the Girl Scout program to resident students. Anyone interested in volunteering as an interpreter for the second troop should contact the Girl Scouts of Gateway Council office.
Action News was told the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind now has a Girl Scouts troop, but LoSauro said she no longer wants her daughter being a part of the Girl Scouts.