Your quick, once-a-day look at disability rights, self-determination
and the movement toward full community inclusion around the world.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003
Year IV, Edition 164

This front page features 9 news and information items, each preceded by a number (#) symbol.
Click on the"Below the Fold" link at the bottom of this page for the rest of today's news.

"There has been virtually no mention of disability rights -- or the issues disability rights activists have attempted to raise -- in this whole sorry sordid saga."

--Mary Johnson, editor of Ragged Edge Magazine, on the media's coverage of recent events in Terri Schiavo's life (First story)

"I just want justice."
--Helen Childs, whose son, Paul Childs III, was shot by a Denver Police officer in the family home in July. The officer was cleared last week of any criminal activity in the death of Childs, who had mental retardation and epilepsy (Third story)



Terri Schiavo Back At Hospice; Family Visits

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
October 22, 2003

TAMPA, FLORIDA--Less than 24 hours after a feeding tube was reinstalled in her stomach, Terri Schiavo was shuttled back to Woodside Hospice from Morton Plant Hospital.

Terri's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, who had been barred from visiting her while she was in the hospital, were able to see her at the hospice late Wednesday.

"She looked like someone who'd had the flu," her father said later.

It was the first full day Terri, 39, had received food and water since the feeding tube was removed on October 15. The tube was reinserted at the hospital Tuesday under the orders of Governor Jeb Bush, who had been directed to do so earlier in the day by the state legislature.

Bush's decision to intervene came after his office received tens of thousands of messages from around the world asking for him to spare Terri's life.

When she was 26 years old, Terri collapsed from a heart attack and her brain was without oxygen for several minutes. Since then she has been in what some doctors describe as a "persistent vegetative state" from which they believe she cannot recover. Since 1993, Michael Schiavo has said that Terri told him prior to her collapse that she would not want to live "by artificial means". He first petitioned to have her feeding tube removed in 1998. The courts have consistently sided with Mr. Schiavo.

Terri's parents have fought in the courts to keep their daughter alive, and have produced documents from medical professionals arguing that Terri is alert, responsive and could benefit from rehabilitation, including speech and swallowing therapies -- which Mr. Schiavo has refused. The Schindlers claim that Michael wants Terri to die, in part, so he will be able to take advantage of what is left of a insurance settlement and so he can marry another woman with whom he has been living for several years.

Disability rights advocates have been closely watching Terri's case for years. Allowing Terri to starve to death reinforces the message that people with certain disabilities are "better off dead", many believe.

Also on Wednesday, a county circuit court judge issued an order giving the Schindlers and Mr. Schiavo five days to agree on a guardian ad-litem -- a court-appointed advocate -- or he would appoint one.

Democratic Presidential candidate Senator Joe Lieberman said he supports Governor Bush in his decision to intervene in Terri's case. In the mid-1980s, Lieberman handled the case of a Connecticut woman in a "vegetative state" whose family was trying to get a nursing home to withhold food and water from her. As an attorney involved in the case, Lieberman argued for the tube feeding to continue.

"I believe that certainly in cases where there is not a living will . . . I feel very strongly that we ought to honor life and we ought not to create a system where people are being deprived of nutrition or hydration in a way that ends their lives," Lieberman said.

The Ragged Edge Magazine's Mary Johnson noted Wednesday how the media has somehow missed the entire disability perspective in Terri's story.

"Schiavo is all but lost in the larger discussion, which turns out is about the right to life vs. the right to die," wrote Johnson. "There has been virtually no mention of disability rights -- or the issues disability rights activists have attempted to raise -- in this whole sorry sordid saga."

"Schiavo taken from hospital" (Palm Beach Post)
"Lieberman Backs Jeb Bush in Fla. Case" (Associated Press via
"Who 'owns' Terri Schiavo?" (Ragged Edge Magazine)
"Terri Schiavo's Right To Live" (Inclusion Daily Express)
Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation



Bus System Manager Accepts Wheelchair Challenge

October 22, 2003

LUBBOCK, TEXAS--The following five paragraphs are excerpts from a brief story in Wednesday's Lubbock Avalanche-Journal:

Responding to a challenge, Citibus general manager John Wilson is testing the quality of the city's bus service for the disabled.

Wilson traveled home from the downtown terminal using a wheelchair and the city bus service Tuesday afternoon. He plans to use the wheelchair and Citibus for all his travels around town through next Tuesday.

"I am doing this to gain a better appreciation and to find ways to improve the system," Wilson said.

He also is answering a challenge by Allen Bryant. Bryant, who uses a motorized wheelchair, issued the challenge at a public hearing in June.

"I thought it would be a good idea for the manager to see what the disabled community goes through to travel around the city," Bryant said.

Entire article:
"Citibus accepts disabled rider's challenge" (Lubbock Avalanche-Journal)



Crowd Calls For Officer's Removal Following Two Shooting Deaths

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
October 22, 2003

DENVER, COLORADO--A crowd of about 250 demonstrators rallied in front of Denver Police Department headquarters Monday, demanding the dismissal of Officer James Turney for shooting to death a 15-year-old with developmental disabilities.

Four protesters were cited for blocking the entrance to the police building, but no arrests were made.

The rally was organized in response to the announcement last week that the department had cleared Turney of any criminal activity in the shooting death this summer of Paul Childs III.

"I just want justice," said Paul's mother, Helen Childs.

The family of Paul Childs, who had mental retardation and epilepsy, telephoned police on July 5 asking for help to calm him down following an outburst. When officers arrived at the home, Childs was standing in a hallway clutching a kitchen knife to his chest. Turney shot Childs four times when the teenager failed to drop the knife. A neurologist later suggested that Childs' "zoned out" behavior prior to the shooting may have been caused by the after-effects of a massive seizure he had experienced earlier in the week.

The family has hired a legal team, including attorney Johnnie Cochran, which is considering a civil suit against the police department and the city.

Community activists are calling for changes in police policies and procedures, particularly those concerning how to deal with suspects with disabilities. City Council President Elbra Wedgeworth has asked U.S. Attorney John Suthers to launch a federal investigation into the shooting.

Officer Turney was cleared in the 2002 shooting death of 18-year-old Gregory Smith, who was partially deaf. He is currently suspended with pay while investigators look into a separate incident in which he allegedly threatened to shoot his own mother-in-law on July 4.

"Childs case sparks protest" (Rocky Mountain News)
Opinion: "Amid Childs tragedy, opportunity comes to light" (Rocky Mountain News)
"The Death of Paul Childs III" (Inclusion Daily Express)



Comedian's "Sensitivity" Back-Fires

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
October 22, 2003

PLYMOUTH, ENGLAND--The Plymouth Pavilions Theatre is considering legal action against a comedian who left the stage during a Monday night performance after wheelchair users refused to move from the front row.

Pavilions managers said Wednesday that they would not invite Jim Davidson back to their venue. They are offering refunds to the 1,700 audience members who bought tickets for the show.

In a statement issued Tuesday, Davidson explained that part of his act involves getting the audience to "gang up" on people in the front row. When he realized that a number of the front row patrons were in wheelchairs, he worried that "it would appear that I was specifically targeting disabled people."

The audience members refused to move, so Davidson walked out.

"Thirteen wheelchairs in the front row killed my act. I was unable to perform," he said.

Pavilions managers claimed that only 7 of the 34 people seated in the front row had wheelchairs. Besides, they said, customers with disabilities are encouraged to attend shows at the venue, and to decide on their own where they will sit.

One Davidson fan told the BBC News, "He is supposed to be a professional, if his act was based around that, why couldn't he change his act to suit the audience?"



City Agrees Teen Can Use Wheelchair In Streets

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
October 22, 2003

LAURENS, IOWA--Under an agreement reached with the town of Laurens, 14-year-old Bryce Wiley can operate his wheelchair on the streets, as long as he stays close to the curb, and equips his chair with a headlight and reflector so he can be seen at night..

The agreement was reached Tuesday with help from U.S. Senator Tom Harkin's staff. Harkin, an Iowa Democrat, was instrumental in gaining passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in Congress in 1990.

Wiley, who has muscular dystrophy, uses the motorized wheelchair to get around his hometown. Because the sidewalks have no curb cuts, he usually rides his wheelchair in the streets.

On the evening of October 5, Police Chief Rod Watkins nearly ran over Wiley with his patrol car. The officer told the teenager he would have to issue a $15 fine and told him to stay on the sidewalks.

It turns out that Iowa state law prohibits "personal transport vehicles" -- such as wheelchairs -- from traveling on streets and highways. State law also prohibits people under age 16 from operating "electric personal assistance mobility devices" -- such as electric wheelchairs -- on sidewalks. In other words, Bryce would practically need to stay home to avoid breaking state law.

But it also turns out that the city of about 1,500 is breaking federal law, by not making the sidewalks accessible to wheelchair users.

"If they aren't going to make sidewalks accessible, I don't see how anyone can fine people for using wheelchairs in the street," Kent Johnson, training coordinator for the Great Plains ADA and Information Technology Center, told the Des Moines Register.

State officials are now looking at ways to rewrite the laws so they will not conflict with each other or with federal law.

Related articles:
Town says teen can use wheelchair (Des Moines Register)
"Advocates say cities' laws behind the times" (DesMoines Register)



EEOC Says Monsanto Discriminated Against Former Employee

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
October 22, 2003

ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI--A former employee of Monsanto Co. will receive $5,000 under a settlement agreement reached with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the St. Louis Business Journal reported Wednesday.

The employee, who was not named in the news report, was terminated from his job in 2001 when his disability kept him from performing his job duties standing up. The EEOC claimed that the company discriminated against the man by not providing a reasonable accommodation so he could continue to work.

Under the agreement, Monsanto will provide training on the Americans with Disabilities Act to supervisors, managers and human resources personnel in that worker's department. For the next year, the company will also track and report on how it handles all requests for accommodations from workers with disabilities in the department.



Self-Determination Technical Assistance: Creating A Learning Community

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's National Program on Self-Determination, March 1997


# EXPRESS EXTRA!!! From the Inclusion Daily Express Archives -- Two years ago:


Activists Begin San Francisco Action

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
October 22, 2001

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA--"Lagunahondasaurus."

That's what the group of 600 disability rights activists from 30 states assembled in San Francisco this week are calling Laguna Honda Hospital -- the nation's largest nursing facility.

Activists are here because the city plans to tear down the facility that houses 1200 people, and rebuild it at a cost of at least $600 million in public money over the next 10 years.

After a rally at a park across the street from the facility Sunday, the group marched silently around the facility, and left wooden crosses and Stars of David near a statue of Florence Nightingale in front of the hospital in memory of friends and loved ones who have died in similar institutional settings.

Most of the activists are from ADAPT chapters from around the country, joined by members of the National Coalition on Self-Determination, Coalition of Californians for Olmstead, Independent Living Centers and other disability rights groups.

The demonstrators want the city to scrap the idea of pouring millions of dollars into incarcerating people behind expensive new institution walls, and instead spend the money to move people into the community where they can have freedom -- at a much lower cost to taxpayers.

"Instead of serving 1000 people in Laguna Honda at a cost of $150,000/year, the city could serve nearly 5000 people in the community for the same cost," said Mike Auberger, ADAPT National Organizer, who blames those who stand to gain either financially or politically by rebuilding the huge facility.

"It's simply wrong to hold people hostage so that others can profit from their imprisonment,' Auberger said. "There's a better way, and that way is to build community."

The Memphis Center for Independent Living is hosting on-going coverage of the event. This link should take you to a report that includes pictures of those involved in the action:

Here are pictures of some attendees:

Background on Laguna Honda Hospital along with previous Inclusion Daily Express coverage can be found on this web page from Ragged Edge Magazine:


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