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Girl with special needs kicked out of movies over ‘disruptive’ laughter

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LA PUENTE, Calif. – A California mother is outraged after she said a movie theater manager kicked her and her family out of the movies over her daughter’s laugh.

“She wasn’t screaming,” Marji Schreurs said about her 10-year-old daughter Destiny. “She wasn’t having a meltdown. She was laughing.”


Destiny, who has special needs, was watching “The Fault in Our Stars” with her family.

AMC Theatres’ spokesman Ryan Noonan issued a statement to KTLA regarding the incident:

“On Monday evening, a theatre manager received complaints from two guests about disruptive behavior during a movie. The manager stepped into the auditorium to observe the situation, identified prolonged disruptive behavior, waited to see if the behavior would cease, and when it did not, approached the guests. The manager explained our policy about making noise that disrupts others during the movie. At that time the guest asked for a refund, which was provided.”

Destiny’s mom said they were treated unfairly.

“They can’t shelter our special kids. They deserve to be in movie theaters just like anybody else,” she said. “She deserves to be able to laugh just like anybody else.”

Source: KTLA


  • Marky Mark

    I couldn’t take my ex to the movies, she had the most obnoxious laugh. We’d get kicked out in a hearbeat

  • dawn

    I sincerely hope this is not an attempt to exploit special needs children for profit or advantages influenced by other similar stories recently in the media…

  • Blackbeered

    The child was making it hell for everyone else in the theater; the mother was oblivious to the hell; the theater would evict anyone under the same circumstances; in this country, it’s illegal to discriminate against the ‘handicapped’ so this imp’s gotta go like everyone else would.

    This mother just doesn’t get it … just like she wants her child treated like every other student, insists she be taught with ‘normal’ kids … and the normal kids suffer.

  • Ron Melancon

    This is a no win conversation. No matter how you respond someone will be critical. All I have to say if this was a person on a cell phone what would be done ?

  • Janet

    I have been around children with special needs. Yes they have rights , but if mine were disrupting a movie theatre I would take them out and wait for the DVD It is only fair to the people who paid money also to see the movie.

  • Y Williams

    1. The movie is PG-13 which means the kid shouldn’t have been watching it in the first place because she is 10
    2. No one deserves to go to a movie. It’s something we all pay to go see if we choose to
    3. This couldn’t have been any ordinary laughing. if it was then the manager would not have had to come and check it out.

  • Barbara O'Connor

    I don’t believe special needs kids have more rights than a non special needs person. If they cannot watch a movie quietly with appropriate laughter, they should be removed.

  • Tyrone

    This isn’t local news and it is of no importance. Another example of CBS 6 choosing controversial stories for page views. Pathetic. You should be ashamed of yourself Scott Wise.

  • Tana

    So if i take my obnoxious but not special needs kid to a movie that everyone there paid to see, and the laughter was loud and inappropriate everyone else should just deal,,,im sorry i dont think so,,,take your ten year old special needs child to an age appropriate movie and let her laugh all she wants to, but i dont think this was the right movie for a child this age,,, as i wouldnt take a noisey 3 year old either

  • Christina Lancaster

    I cannot believe the comments I am reading regarding this story. Depending of the severity of each individual child, parents with special needs children do not get the opportunity to enjoy the same experiences that parents with healthy children experience as the child ages. This child is not a toddler who has not learned to sit quietly yet and due to her developmental level she never may learn (not even when she is 20 years old). This child is 10, plenty of parents take 10 year old children to see PG-13 movies everyday. These parents have every right to see a movie in the movie theater. It is twice a hard to find a babysitter who feels comfortable enough to watch a special needs child. Yes, she was distracting, but if people are not willing to have a heart and allow special needs children and the parents watch a movie in a movie theater, then they need to have movie times that are child friendly. The more I read comments on articles, the more I realize how many heartless people there are in this world. Blackbeered – you are an awful person, Ron Melancon – this family paid to see the movie just like everyone else, Gerry – she is not a baby so you cannot even compare the two, Janet – yes they can wait to see the movie when it is out on DVD, should there be a sign that reads no special needs people allowed in movie theaters? How would that be any different than having a sign that says no blacks allowed? Y-Williams – how many parents have you seen take their child to rated R movies. For example, there was a 6 year old little girl in the movie theater to see the rated R Batman movie where the shooting happened in Colorado. Barbara O’Connor – special needs people do not have more rights than healthy people. They do however deserve the SAME rights as healthy people. This child and her family should be allowed to go to a movie they paid just as much as everyone else. Tana – so when this child turns 18 but is still unable to comprehend when it is appropriate to laugh, what age appropriate movie would you suggest. I usually don’t leave comments but this really touched a nerve. I have a 17 year old special needs child. Mentally he is only 6 months old. I feel he is tired of watching cartoons for 17 years of his life. If I pay money to take him to movie and he sees or hears something that makes him happy, I shouldn’t have to leave because he showed joy. He has a right like everyone else to see an awesome movie in a big dark room with lots of sounds and lights. If people don’t like it, then they should leave with a refund. Not us. All of you uneducated heartless individuals can go to hell.

    • Virginia Fleischman

      Amen sister. Everyone yells discrimination and we all jump on the wagon but who cares if it is a special needs person. Since they are often unable to defend themselves in any way jump on them. What brave souls are you? A little disruption and you go crazy. We need to send you to the Alaskan wilderness alone so some grizzly can really disrupt your life.

    • athynz

      I get what you are saying however this is more of a case of the rights of the many vs the rights of the few or the one. Should everyone else in that theater seek a refund because they are bothered by the child’s laughter or should the management ask the one family to leave? It has very little to do with the fact that she is special needs and more to do with the fact she was disrupting the theater and affecting everyone else.

    • Tyrone

      I understand that you aren’t able to be subjective on this subject. Considering the date of this story, the movie theatre was likely packed. It takes major disruption for someone to get the management. If the management came in, observed the behavior, and watched it continue, it more than likely would have lasted the entire movie. People go to the theatre with the expectations of a quiet theatre. That is why they play those big “Turn of Cell Phones” and “Please be courteous and quiet” before the movie. The mother knew this expectation when going into the theatre, as do you. If your child can’t adhere to these rules, then they can watch movies at home. I sincerely doubt this little girl chose to see The Fault in Our Stars, her mother did. The only night that was disrupted was the mother’s. The daughter would be more than happy to watch something at home, I am certain of it. If your kid is tired of cartoons, get him something else to watch for goodness sake. There is a difference between laughing, and constantly laughing. You know that. Stop playing so self-righteous and realize our lives don’t stop because you want the right to blab through the movie. If 50 people are quiet in a theatre and one is not, we do not need to sit idly by just because they are disabled.

  • Cindy szymonik

    I’ve gotta be honest. I don’t take my autistic son to the movies because he will disturb others. We rent movies and watch them at home.

  • Dia Will

    Mr. Spock of Star Trek fame said this so well… “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one.” This may sound harsh, but this idea has merit.

  • Michelle

    I am sorry the family is angry, however if I were at the movies and paid 10 or more dollars to see the movie I would have a problem as well. Doesn’t matter whether they were laughing, crying, whatever its still disrupting the people being able to watch/enjoy the movie.

  • Michael F

    As a single father of three boys, I left many movies on my own accord because the youngest was crying or making too much noise playing. It is too bad the mother does not respect others. It is sad if the special needs child was enjoying the movie, but I found that I could eventually see the movies at home and my kids’ needs were demanding while not so special. Maybe a solution exists where a charity might periodically rent a theater for families with special needs. But there is no reasonable expectation that there is a communal responsibility to endure the hardships involved in the raising of other people’s children whether they are easier than most or harder than most. In any event, the mother cannot be possibly be arguing for her child’s right to the movie theater experience while at the same time arguing that others should forfeit their right to enjoy the movie theater experience in the process. My youngest baby wasn’t always capable of enjoying the movie theater without changing that experience for everyone and that was a hardship for me and my family to live with and to manage.

  • Alex

    She was laughing when everyone else was laughing. I had to read another more detailed report to confirm that. They just didn’t like her laugh. That seems intolerant to me. If she had been making noise during other parts of the movie I’d feel differently, but I can’t justify banishing a person just because his laugh sounds different.

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