The teen actor who voices Dora on the insanely popular kids show Dora the Explorer is being accused of allegedly peer-pressuring a classmate into vaping with her, leading to the other girl's expulsion.
The teen's parents, Nadia Leonelli and Fredrik Sundwall, filed a lawsuit in New York on Monday against the school where their daughter allegedly met 15-year-old actor Fatima Ptacek, the Associated Press reported.
Ptacek is not named in the lawsuit, but is easily identifiable because she is referred to as the "voice of Dora the Explorer," AP reported.
She has been the voice of Dora since 2012, according to IMDb.
The couple's 14-year-old daughter, named only as M.S., was a student at the Manhattan private school Avenues: The World School until the alleged December incident, the lawsuit claims.
The parents said that their daughter and Ptacek were ratted out by a senior classmate, who told administrators they had been vaping in a school bathroom, the New York Daily News reported.
The girls weren't doing drugs, but were vaping caramel-flavored water, AP reported. When school officials confronted the teens, both denied it out of fear, the parents said.
However, they said their child confessed to them that she had vaped with Ptacek to appear "cool."
"[She did it] because [Ptacek] 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," the lawsuit says, according to the Daily News.
Ptacek was in the short film Curfew, which won an Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film at the 2013 Academy Awards.
Both girls eventually confessed to the incident, and Ptacek was suspended for three days, the Daily News reported. But M.S. was expelled, her parents say, even though she gave the same confession as Ptacek.
School officials allegedly said that the reason M.S. was expelled and Ptacek suspended was that M.S. was "untrustworthy," though they didn't explain why, the Daily News reported. The third girl who "tattled" on the duo was not punished, according to the newspaper.
The parents are asking in their lawsuit for their daughter to be allowed back to school and for $40,000 in damages, AP reported.
Sundwall and Leonelli said in a statement to BuzzFeed News that they are not blaming Ptacek for the incident, and their lawsuit is not about "peer pressure or celebrities."
Instead, they said, they are fighting for all students to be treated fairly.
"Avenues has a very progressive discipline policy and we believe it was not fairly applied in this instance," they said. "We're talking about flavored water vapor and the school arriving at three very different disciplinary outcomes for this incident. That's a mistake. We'd like to see it remedied."
The school didn't return a request for comment from BuzzFeed News and a spokesperson told AP they had none.
BuzzFeed News' Nicolas Medina Mora contributed to this report.
Stephanie McNeal is a social news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Stephanie McNeal at email@example.com.
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