A New Mexico mom suffering from cancer and trying to spend as much time with her children as possible said she was told by a school principal she could no longer enter the building.
Kerri Mascareno said her child's principal banned her from the school because of the way she smells, a reaction to her chemotherapy treatment. (Image source: KOB-TV) (Image source: KOB-TV)
Because of the way she smells.
Kerri Mascareno with Stage 4 breast cancer is taking chemotherapy pills to shrink the size of her tumor so she can undergo surgery to have it removed, KOB-TV reported.
Several online forums feature cancer patients who have described a chemical smell coming from their own bodies as a side effect of chemotherapy.
Last week, Tierra Antigua Elementary Principal Robert Abney spoke with Mascareno. The mother of three said the principal told her he knew what he was about to say was going to hurt her feelings and that he understood the issue. His mother apparently smelled the same when being treated for breast cancer.
"I can't no longer be in the school," Mascareno said.
The mom said employees of the school complained that they had become "vitally ill" over the smell.
Abney refused KOB's attempt to speak with him, referring the station to the school's media representatives instead.
Adding salt to the wound, the mother was told she could attend the school's Thanksgiving lunch, but only if they sat in the principal's office.
"For someone to say, you can't be with your child," Mascareno told KOB, choking up. "It's really hard."
That this could be her last Thanksgiving is something Mascareno said she thinks about everyday. Instead of attending the school's Thanksgiving lunch this week, Mascareno kept her daughter Lynsey at home instead.
"I'm really hurt by what happened and I just don't want to be around that negativity," Mascareno told KOB.
Here's another report from the local station about Mascareno's decision to spend time with her daughter at home rather than share in the school's Thanksgiving meal:
The backlash has been strong enough that the school's parent teacher association had to post a message about it on Facebook.
"This Facebook page is for reminding parents/staff of activities at Tierra Antigua Elementary. This page is not intended to be a public forum. Please do not post any opinions on this page," the post read.