UCAS Student - School policy slap in the face to military everywhere

Cynthia Gonzalez will never forget the phone call about her son clinging to life.

"It feels like it's still there... Like I'm not going to get over it for a long time," she said.

Airman First Class Junior Aguilar fell 30 feet while on a ship in Iraq.

He suffered traumatic brain injury but miraculously survived the non-combat accident last July.

Cynthia thought an official letter from a high ranking member of the Air Force, which detailed her son's near deadly fall, would qualify for a two-week leave of absence at the school she attends.

She was wrong.

"They told me it was denied because it wasn't a personal issue on myself," Cynthia said.

The University of Cosmetology Arts & Sciences or UCAS campus as it's known in Harlingen now wants to charge her $400 in fees as part of a contract for missing 40 hours of class time to be by her son's hospital bed, according to Cynthia.

The single mother of four says its money she doesn't have.

"I wasn't asking for a leave so I could go on vacation... I was asking so I can move... I was being by my son's bedside who was fighting for our country and got injured," she explained.

UCAS handbook policies obtained by Action 4 News for the last two years detailed how a leave of absence may be granted to a student for up to 60 days with a well documented medical excuse.

Cynthia argues the policy fails to mention that it does not extend to immediate family members.

Administrators at the school disagree.

"The student handbook does not clarify that it would be for immediate family member... That is only for students," Gisela Alaniz, corporate director of education said.

UCAS administrators point out that students can appeal decisions.

A committee typically determines a course of action for grievances like the one Cynthia has currently filed, according to Gisela.

And while a decision is still up in the air, Cynthia says she's been led to believe policy is policy.

It's something she's fighting to get changed for all students.

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