Pasadena ISD reinstates student after accusing her of being under the influence

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ABC13's Nick Natario reports on a girl's return to school after being suspended for a faining spell. (KTRK)

A Pasadena ISD student, who was suspended for allegedly using drugs after she fainted in class, returned to school.

Jazmin Garcia, 15, was suspended in January from Pasadena Memorial High School for being under the influence of an unidentified substance.

However, Garcia and her family told ABC13 it wasn't drugs, but a neurological condition.

Garcia went to the doctor at the time and had a drug test. She said the results were negative.

Her family is now calling on Pasadena ISD to change its policies.

Garcia and her attorney held a news conference to discuss the diagnosis on Wednesday.

"They were telling me that I was under the influence of something, when I didn't do nothing," Garcia said.

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Garcia's attorney credits Eyewitness News viewers with helping with her case.

"After I looked up what the viewers were saying it is, I was like, yeah, these are the symptoms down to a tee," attorney Gene Wu said.

Wu said Garcia is diagnosed with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, also known as POTS.

Rachel Ainsworth reached out after our original story because she suffers from POTS herself.

"I was fired from jobs," Ainsworth said. "I was accused of being on drugs. I was told I was lazy, dramatic."

POTS is primarily found in women ages 15 to 50 years old.

It's a condition that impacts the cardiovascular system.

It causes the heart to work harder after a person stands, which can cause people to faint, get dizzy or be fatigued - symptoms Jazmin said she suffers from.

The district let her go back to school. It wouldn't give Eyewitness News an interview but sent a statement:

There have been a number of inaccuracies reported by the local media with respect to this situation. As always, the District's primary concern is ensuring the safety of every student on our campuses. All PISD campuses follow the Pasadena ISD Student Code of Conduct and make disciplinary decisions in the interest of student safety after considering the information that is available at the time of their decisions in every student discipline matter. The Student Code of Conduct also provides an appeal process where circumstances and additional information can be considered and acted upon. The District is unable to comment further regarding a specific student discipline matter in accordance with state and federal privacy laws.

Ainsworth said school won't be Garcia's only issue.

She said it'll be an uphill climb because many still don't understand her condition.

"If you're feeling these symptoms people are telling you that you're making it up," Ainsworth said. "They don't believe you. Believe in yourself, and have the confidence to fight."

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