Special needs kids kicked out of arcade on field trip
TAMARAC, Fla. (WSVN) -- The owner of a South Florida arcade is at the center of a field trip controversy after he reportedly kicked out a group of special needs kids.
A group of 30 children with special needs, who are part of a camp from the Achievement and Rehab Center of Broward, went on a field trip to the Funtastic Cafe in Tamarac but were asked to leave by the arcade's manager during their trip.
According to ARC of Broward, the group of kids were kicked out for no good reason. "I just personally feel like he just didn't want us there," said Ali Kellet, ARC of Broward team leader. "The kids were playing, and they were playing beautifully, and they were having a great time."
Doug Caires, the general manager of Funtastic Cafe, did not want to speak on camera but released a statement reading: "Funtastic is open to the public, and I couldn't have unruly kids. The campers were not following the rules, and the counselors were not watching the kids nor were they able to control them."
Now, two of Caires' employees, who wish to remain anonymous, are speaking out about the incident. "We had customers who came in and their children were playing," said one employee. "We had no customers leave while the camp was there. These kids were very well behaved."
"Throughout the day he [Caires] kept saying he couldn't wait for them to leave," said the other employee, who also choked back tears as she said Caires' behavior hit too close to home for her. "I have a learning disability. I have family that has Autism. It's not fair. They did nothing wrong."
Camp counselors from ARC of Broward agree that the group of kids were not being disruptive at all. "We've never had this kind of reaction. and so it was sad. It was very sad," said Kellet.
One of the employees of Funtastic has since quit, saying the manager said some discriminatory words against these children.
ARC of Broward says they had 23 camp counselors for the 30 children that were at Funtastic. The organization also said that they have never had a problem at any other business they have visited.
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