What would Boots think? Parents claim their teen daughter was expelled from a New York City high school after Dora the Explorer voice actress Fatima Ptacek pressured her into vaping on campus.
In their Manhattan civil suit, parents Nadia Leonelli and Fredrik Sundwall say that they helped found the elite $40,000-a-year Avenues: The World School (where Suri Cruise was once a student), from which their child was booted.
In court documents revealed by the New York Post, Leonelli and Sundwall claim that on December 10, 2015, their 14-year-old (identified simply as M.S.) “was approached by her friend, F.P., who is a year older in 10th grade at Avenues, to go into the bathroom and try smoking flavored water vapor in a ‘vape’ pen that F.P. had borrowed from a fellow 10th grade classmate” — aka 15-year-old Ptacek.
Ptacek currently serves as the lead voice in the latest edition of the Nickelodeon children’s animated series Dora and Friends: Into the City! The Queens native has given life to the beloved Spanish-teaching, thrill-seeking character since 2012. Ptacek also played a part in the 2013 Academy Award-winning short film Curfew.
Leonelli and Sundwall believe Ptacek’s Hollywood credits attributed to her influence over their daughter. In the documents obtained by the Post, they claim that M.S. “was reluctant to try but gave in to peer pressure, wanting to appear ‘cool’ in front of F.P. because she is older than M.S. and is a celebrity, being the actress who does the voice of Dora the Explorer on television and having a movie nominated for the Oscars.”
Leonelli and Sundwall also add that while the girls were reprimanded (their daughter more harshly), the vape pen did not contain any tobacco or drugs, but instead just caramel-flavored water.
According to the New York Post, the distraught parents have spent more than $10,000 in legal fees fighting for justice. They have slammed the school for making an “inappropriate decision” in expelling their daughter. They are also waiting on a refund. Apparently, they haven’t been reimbursed any of the $40,000 tuition even though their daughter was let go from Avenues only a few months into the school year.
While M.S. was made to leave the prestigious college preparatory, Ptacek was only served a three-day suspension and was allowed to remain a student. Leonelli and Sundwall believe their daughter was the “scapegoat” and Ptacek received special treatment due to her child star status.
The New York Post reached out to Avenues: The World School for comment. “Matters involving litigation and discipline of students are private and confidential," a school spokesperson said. A rep for Ptacek did not immediately return a call for comment from the outlet.