Lucia Mar bars teen with brain tumor from going to prom

May 10, 2016
Jared Springer

Jared Springer


A high school senior who is battling a brain tumor and recovering from a broken hip managed to score a date, as well as a black tuxedo with a pink tie, for the Arroyo Grande High School prom. Then, about 48 hours prior to the big event, the Lucia Mar school district passed along a message that the wheelchair-bound student was not welcome at the prom.

Jared Springer, 18, could not go to prom because he had been absent from school for an extended period following a recent accident in which he fell out of his wheelchair and broke his hip. His absence from school disqualified him from attending school events, the disabled student’s father, Frank Springer, said in a Facebook post.

Lucia Mar’s director of student services informed Frank Springer of the rule during a phone call late in the day on Thursday. The Arroyo Grande prom took place Saturday night.

During the phone conversation, the district administrator said Jared Springer could only go to prom if he received clearance to attend school from a doctor and his family met with district officials to discuss logistics. That gave the Springer family one day to jump through impossible hoops, Frank Springer said in the Facebook post.

“As a parent I understand there has to be policies,” Springer wrote. “I understand the need for rules. I just don’t understand why there is no compassion or importance given to kids and families that are suffering.”

In Oct. 2014, Jared Springer suffered a stroke and brain hemorrhage, causing him to spend 20 days in a coma and five months in the ICU. He was diagnosed with a pilocytic astrocytoma brain tumor.

This year, Jared Springer returned to school for his senior year at Arroyo Grande High. About three weeks ago, he fell out of his wheel chair and broke his right hip, which required emergency surgery.

Following a 10-day rehab, doctors released the Arroyo Grande senior but instructed him not to go to school for six weeks. The doctors said it would be too painful for him to bounce around campus in the wheelchair.

During Jared Springer’s last week in rehab, all he would talk about was going to prom, his father said. His nurses cleared him to go to prom, and he was very excited about going.

But on Wednesday, one of Jared Springer’s support teachers called Frank Springer and said Jared would not be able to attend prom. Frank Springer did not receive an explanation from the district until late in the following day.

Frank Springer also said he offered to go to the prom with his son. The district’s student services director said Frank Springer could not accompany his son because he did not have a background check and a tuberculosis test. Also, the district does not let parents go to many school functions, the Lucia Mar administrator reportedly said.

On Saturday night, Jared Springer went with his date to dinner to the Madonna Inn. Their classmates were attending prom at a location down the street.

Jared Springer returned home a little mad and upset. He had been looking forward to seeing his friends, listening to music and finally having a little fun at prom, his father wrote.

The Lucia Mar District released the following statement Monday:

“In the Lucia Mar Unified School District, we believe that our work is about students and maximizing their academic and extracurricular opportunities. It saddens me to know that with improved communication one of our students may have been able to attend an event that is special for many high school seniors. We have reached out to the parents to meet and discuss this situation in person and are awaiting their availability.

“At the same time, student safety is a top priority in our District. In order to protect all our students and staff, we have specific rules about who is allowed to participate in school-sponsored events. We acknowledge that there may be ways to work within guidelines to expand opportunities for our students.

“In our decision making regarding eligibility to participate in extracurricular events Lucia Mar USD complies with all medical restrictions outlined by individual health care providers to ensure the health and safety of each child is taken into account. We make the best decisions we can, at the time, based on the information we receive from doctors.

“While this prom is now in the past, many special senior activities remain ahead. It is our intent to improve our two-way communication with the family regarding these events. We will work with the student and parents to attempt to ensure participation, whenever possible, provided the necessary medical releases are in place. It is also our intent to work with the family, apologize, learn from any mistakes, and improve our training and processes for all of our students.”


This is a sad situation.

I don’t know where the communication breakdown began, but it is sad it had to come to this.

The school needed more than a doctor’s ok to attend the prom. it sounds like they were requiring an adult to supervise him because of his fragile condition and the fact the has fallen out of his wheelchair before. This is entirely reasonable requests from the school. some of this may have been required by Education codes.

Where I am saddened is that they refused to let Dad Chaperone. A quick clearance from the health dept for TB and a quick Megan’s law check should have been enough for this rare event. Fingerprint clearances take time the family didn’t have. This wasn’t a “loser” family who slacked off until the last minute. I am guessing the school didn’t want to set a precident of making exceptions to their rules..

I guess they could have paid a nurse to stand by for him. But then you all realize that it would be YOU the taxpayer forking over the money? Maybe it was too short of a notice.

I am sad this kid missed his prom. I am glad the community is coming together to try and make another prom for him. This young man needs some happiness and joy in his life right now.

Josey Wales

Ladies & Gentlemen,

This incident is appalling, and not allowing this student to attend his prom is inexcusable

The remedy is that Arroyo Grande High School Principal Conan Bowers ought to resign immediately. If the Lucia Mar school board will not expedite his removal, then they ought to be held accountable as well.

Sadly, this kind of scandalous decision, and the resulting PR fiasco attempting to excuse the inexcusable, is only a symptom of a larger failure of leadership in American public education.

We deserve better

Kaiser Bill

That is not how it works in public education.

Administrators are usually bad teachers who wanted out of the classroom. Not all of them.

Some administrators make wonderful school site Principals. They are usually happy as Principals and do not want to be involved with a higher up Bureaucrat job.

The bad administrators, who were bad teachers, get promoted! They get a cushy job at a District office away from students and parents where they get to think up idiotic policies like barring a kid suffering from a brain tumor from attending Senior Prom “because he missed too much school.”

Conan Bowers won’t resign, he will be promoted!


Unbelievable! “It saddens me to know that with improved communication one of our students may have been able to attend an event that is special for many high school seniors.” Seriously? You had to make this about YOUR feelings? This isn’t about YOU being saddened. YOU and your myriad of bureaucracy denied a worthy young man of a memorable evening – that he looked forward to for twelve years. Improved communication? Like what? Oh, you mean YOU actually being available to do something to prevent him missing HIS senior prom. Bet all you “decision makers” got to go to your Senior Prom… Pathetic.


Despicable. Disgusting. Each one of these administrators should be kicked to the curb. The district could function better on its own until these pea-brained petty bureaucrats can be replaced.


The only thing worse than hearing about what these incompetent administrators did is knowing how MUCH we the taxpayers are paying them.

About FIFTEEN admins in Lucia Mar make OVER a hundred thousand bucks a year!!

Besides barring a kid from the prom, what other idiotic decisions are these educational “experts” making?

Shame, SHAME on you cowardly, power-hungry Lucia Mar district administrators!


Do you need to have a background check and a tuberculosis test to go to a basketball game, open house, school play…? The only difference is that the prom is not open to the public (obviously). It is still a supervised extracurricular school event. The administrators were reaching, hard.


There will be a SECOND Prom!

People are organizing right now.


Jared’s Prom

on Facebook to see how you can help right this wrong!


“At the same time, student safety is a top priority in our District. In order to protect all our students and staff, we have specific rules about who is allowed to participate in school-sponsored events.”

Probably the biggest load of crap I have ever seen in print.


If he had just had a sex-change operation and wanted to go as a gal they would have made an exception to the rule post haste!