Fatima Ptacek was caught vaping in her high school bathroom, but the teen actress received a less harsh punishment than her friends. Ptacek, the 15-year-old star who is best known as the voice behind the Nickelodeon character Dora the Explorer, was suspended after the incident, while her friend was expelled from their private Chelsea high school, according to the New York Daily News.
Fatima Ptacek is now being called out in a civil lawsuit after Nadia Leonelli and Fredrik Sundwall, the parents of the suspended student, alleged Fatima persuaded their daughter to try a water vaporizer pipe in the school bathroom. Ptacek and two other girls reportedly vaped caramel-flavored water in the bathroom of the posh Avenues: The World School, when an older student walked in on them and reported the incident.
According to the court papers obtained by the New York Post, Leonelli and Sundwall claim that Fatima Ptacek received special treatment due to her status as a child star, while their daughter was used as “a scapegoat” in the vaping incident.
Fatima Ptacek was slapped with a three-day suspension for the incident, but her 14-year-old friend was forced to withdraw from the $40,000 a year school. The third girl involved in the incident was not disciplined at all. The parents of the expelled girl, identified as M.S. in court papers, say administrators at Avenues were “arbitrary and capricious” when doling out their very uneven punishments.
The papers reveal that on December 10, the defendants’ child, “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.”
The younger girl was reluctant to try the vape pen but admittedly wanted to appear “cool” to Ptacek, who 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 court papers reveal that Fatima Ptacek and the other girls initially denied the bathroom vaping charges, but the younger student later confessed to Avenues administrators. While she initially denied vaping in the school bathroom, Fatima Ptacek reportedly gave the school a written confession later, admitting she got the vape pipe from a boy in her grade and that at first she didn’t even know how to use it.
“At first, we didn’t know how to turn it on, but then we figured it out. We both sucked in from the vaporizer, but I was a little scared, so I didn’t inhale into my lungs but kept it in my mouth.”
The lawsuit alleges that school officials treated the younger student more harshly than Fatima Ptacek. The parents seek monetary damages and want the school to annul the disciplinary action against their daughter. They also want their daughter to be re-enrolled at the celeb-centric school.
A spokesman for the posh college prep school said they do not comment on disciplinary issues, and Fatima Ptacek has not yet commented either.
Fatima Ptacek has been the voice of the bilingual kiddie cartoon character Dora the Explorer since 2012, serving as the lead voice in the Dora and Friends: Into the City! version of the Nickelodeon series. Fatima also appeared as Sophia in the 2013 Academy Award-winning short film Curfew. Ptacek is also an outspoken teen advocate and recently spoke at the UN in support of gender equality.
Take a look at the video below for more on Fatima Ptacek’s vaping scandal.
[Photo By Jason Merritt/Getty Images]