Special needs student denied homecoming dance because of date's age

Would be student's first and last chance to go to the dance

BAYTOWN, Texas - A Baytown family is in tears and their daughter has a broken heart.

Courtney LeBlanc was planning to go to the homecoming dance at Baytown Lee High School on Saturday.

For the senior special needs student, this would be her first and last chance to go to the dance and her parents wanted her to have a date.

Courtney's parents arranged for the son of a family friend to take her. His name is Derek, a special needs graduate of Lee High, and a close friend of Courtney's from Special Olympics. He asked her on Monday after volleyball practice -- complete with a rose.

But Wednesday, the school informed the family Derek couldn't attend because he's 27 years old, which is past the age limit of 21.

Courtney and her family were devastated to hear the news.

"They just don't get to have the opportunities most children get to have," said Courtney's stepfather, Chris McClain. "They don't get the opportunity to pick and choose their dates like most children get to have. This is something special to her. I want her to have that."

The McClains say if the school does not make an exception, Courtney will still have a homecoming. They are planning a dance, complete with a DJ, plus a king and queen right at her home.

"If they can't allow her to have her date being Derek then there's no way that she's going to attend homecoming at all," said Courtney's mother, Crystal McClain. "She won't go. She'll stay here and we'll do our homecoming here for them."

A statement was issued Wednesday by Goose Creek CISD:

"According to Goose Creek CISD practice, we do not permit non-students over 21 to be students' dates to school activities. However, given this unique circumstance, we are revisiting the parent request. Hopefully, we can work with the parents to find a mutually agreeable way to allow the student to attend the Homecoming Dance with the date of her choice."

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