LUBBOCK, Texas — A Lubbock mother felt that the Lubbock Boys & Girls Club was being unfair to her daughter with disabilities by not letting her in right away.

“We want to make our Clubs available to every child possible and that is why we keep our membership dues so low to make it affordable for parents.  We want children to come to our Clubs every day to grow and flourish in a safe and positive environment.  Over the years we have had many children attend our Clubs with special needs and have even had a previous employee in a wheel chair.

Originally when Mrs. Berlanga had called the Administrative Office on 7/11 after talking with our Club Director who referred her to the Administrative Office. 

Our Volunteer Director talked with Mrs. Berlanga and explained to her that our Club staff, who are mainly college students,  were not trained to handle the special needs of her daughter.  She then got very upset and was put on hold and that is when I got on the phone with her. 

After talking with her for several minutes I told her that I would have to check with our Risk Management people and see what we can do.  She then stated that she had to go and would call me back.

She never returned our call.  After hearing from our Risk Management people the next day, July 12, I then emailed Ms. Berlanga at 3:05 PM letting her know that we would accept her daughter as long as she has the nurse with her daughter while she is at the Club.  All volunteers that have repetitive contact with our members at the Club have to have a FBI background check and finger printing. 

We have had no phone contact with Ms. Berlanga since I visited with her on July 11th.   After emailing her on July 12th we are expecting to have her daughter be a member of the Club when school starts.

I want to stress again that we have children of all backgrounds attend our Club daily and that is why we are here serving children for 82 years. ”

Tom Vermillion, Executive DIrector of the Lubbock Boys & Girls Club, said.

Berlanga is the concerned parent of a 9-year-old daughter who was diagnosed with Mild Cerebral Palsy Hypertonic, Hypermobility Joint syndrome, ADHD and Asthma.

All Berlanga wanted was for her daughter to be included and feel like any other kid, so she tried to enroll her children in the Lubbock Boys & Girls Club.

“The first lady that I spoke to just flat out, shut it down, my understanding is like, the Boys and Girls Club is inclusive,” Berlanga said.

Berlanga explained her daughter’s condition as she needs a feeding tube and a personal nurse.

She also said she talked to the Executive Director, Tom Vermillion. According to her account, he said the staff couldn’t handle her daughter, and that she could be too much of a liability.

“He’s like, ‘Well, I can check with our insurance company, but I really don’t think that they’re gonna allow it,'” Berlanga said.

“I don’t understand how my daughter having feeding tube makes her a liability. And he said, ‘well, she’s severe enough to a nurse, she’s too severe to come here.’ And like, just made the assumption that she was immobile,” Berlanga said.

Berlanga said her daughter is able to participate as she can talk and jump.

EverythingLubbock.com reached out to Vermillion about this claim and he said that after he spoke with the risk management department that it would be okay for Sammantha’s daughter to attend as long as her nurse was present and are expecting to have her daughter be a member when the school year starts.

Vermillion had not heard back from Sammantha at the time.