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

Wednesday, November 5, 2003
Year IV, Edition 171

This front page features 8 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.

"This is about safeguarding the fundamental right to live for every Floridian, particularly those with disabilities. Both the U.S. and Florida constitutions secure this right, and elected officials in our state are required to protect it."

--A statement from Governor Jeb Bush, whose attorney has asked a state court to throw out Michael Schiavo's attempt to overturn "Terri's Law" (First story)

''One of the reasons I decided to start this business was in order to encourage other disabled people a chance at finding a job that would be suitable for them."
--Joshua Swartz, owner of Quest Creations, which will employ people with disabilities (Second story)



Gov. Bush Asks Court To Throw Out Challenge To "Terri's Law";
Judge Greer Allows Parents To Sue For Guardianship Change

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
November 5, 2003

TAMPA, FLORIDA--An attorney representing Governor Jeb Bush has asked a state court to dismiss a lawsuit challenging "Terri's Law", the measure passed last month that gave Bush authority to order a feeding tube reinserted into Terri Schiavo.

Ken Connor told Florida's 6th District Court Wednesday that the suit filed against the governor by Terri's husband and guardian, Michael Schiavo, and the American Civil Liberties Union, should have been filed in Leon County, where the state capital is located rather than Pinellas County. Connor also said the governor was not properly served notice of the suit, thereby making the suit invalid.

The suit filed last week claimed that the governor and the legislature overstepped their constitutional bounds when they passed the law giving Bush authority to have Terri's feeding tube replaced on October 21, six days after it had been removed by a court order.

"This is about safeguarding the fundamental right to live for every Floridian, particularly those with disabilities," Bush said in a statement. "Both the U.S. and Florida constitutions secure this right, and elected officials in our state are required to protect it."

Judge Douglas Baird has yet to rule on the matter.

Also on Wednesday, Pinellas County Circuit Court Judge George W. Greer ruled against Mr. Schiavo's request to throw out a suit from Terri's parents seeking to have him removed as her guardian. Judge Greer, who has rejected such efforts three times in the past, had consistently sided with Mr. Schiavo for several years.

Terri collapsed and her brain was without oxygen for several minutes in February 1990 when she was 26. Several doctors have testified that she has since been in a "persistent vegetative state" in which she feels nothing and from which she will never recover. Her husband claims that Terri told him before her collapse that she would not have wanted to live "by artificial means". Based on this testimony, Florida courts have consistently sided with Mr. Schiavo's efforts to have the gastronomy tube removed that provides Terri with food and water.

Terri's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, have argued for years that Terri is alert, responsive, and that she tries to speak. They have gathered testimony from medical professionals who claim that Terri is not "vegetative" and that she might benefit from rehabilitation. Videos of Terri from last year show her apparently smiling, interacting with family members, and watching a balloon cross her room.

In their suit, the Schindlers claim that Mr. Schiavo has neglected and abused Terri since winning a $1.2 million insurance settlement two years after her brain injury.

"Schiavo has at every turn attempted to increase her incapacity through the denial of basic health and rehabilitative services such as range of motion therapy, other physical therapy, orthopedic evaluations and treatment, speech therapy, standard diagnostic tests and procedures, gynecological care, dental care, rehabilitation evaluations and cognitive therapy," the petition stated.

Of the $700,000 that was held in a fund for Terri's life-long care in 1998, only $50,000 remains. The Schindlers allege Mr. Schiavo has exploited Terri by "wasting, embezzlement, or other mismanagement" much of the money by spending it on attorneys' fees in his efforts to starve her to death.

The Schindlers also say their daughter deserves a divorce from her husband, who for the past six years has been living with another woman -- whom he refers to as his fiancée and with whom he has fathered two children.

"Fidelity is a key component of the respect and dignity that our society expects one spouse to afford the other; yet, this guardian believes that Terri’s disability releases him of his legal and moral responsibility."

The suit further suggests that Mr. Schiavo may have been responsible for Terri's initial collapse.

The Schindlers want Judge Greer to appoint her brother or sister as guardian.

Disability rights groups have been closely watching the Schiavo case for several years. Last month they joined right-to-life groups to flood the governor's office with tens of thousands of messages urging him to support Terri's right to live. The week after Terri's feeding tube was removed by court order, Gov. Bush championed the passage of "Terri's law" in the state legislature, allowing him to have it reinstalled.

"Who's going to debate whether my life is worth living?" asked Angel Watson, who 15 years ago was declared in a "persistent vegetative state". Watson is now the accessibility coordinator with the Caring and Sharing Center for Independent Living in Largo.

"What are you going to do to us next? Put us on an island? Blow us up?" she asked the Tampa Tribune.

"The Guardian: Terri Schiavo's first guardian ad litem report 1998" by Wesley J. Smith (Weekly Standard)
"Many In Disability Groups Want Protection For Schiavo" (Tampa Tribune)
"Court to hear petition to remove husband as guardian" (World Net Daily)
Extended coverage: "Terri Schiavo's Right To Live" (Inclusion Daily Express)
Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation



"Swartz Ready To Begin Dream Of His Business"

November 5, 2003

FORT PAYNE, ALABAMA--The following four paragraphs are excerpts from a recent story in the Times-Journal:

In just a few weeks, Joshua Swartz will venture into the business world and begin a journey he has dreamed of since he was a little boy.

The 26-year-old can’t stop smiling, or thinking about the people he is going to meet, or the lives he is going to touch, when he opens the doors to his business, Quest Creations, for the first time.

Swartz, who was born with mild cerebral palsy, has worked hard to create a business opportunity for himself and other disabled people in the community.

"One of the reasons I decided to start this business was in order to encourage other disabled people a chance at finding a job that would be suitable for them,” Joshua said.

Entire article:
"Swartz ready to begin dream of his business"



Candidate Vows To Run For Council In Two Years

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
November 5, 2003

RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA--The good news for Karen Moye-Stallings this week was that she received 30 percent of the vote for City Council District B during Tuesday's election.

The bad news was that she came up 1,216 votes shy of winning the post.

It was the fifth time since 1997 that Moye-Stallings, who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, has lost in the polls.

"I've come so close, so close," she said Wednesday. "Always a bridesmaid, never a bride."

While many of those who know Moye-Stallings say that she would have been a great representative on the council, some voters simply did not take the time to hear her message.

"With her handicap and communicating with people, you wonder if it would be a hindrance," one voter told the News & Observer.

Moye-Stallings considered the election results a setback, but not a defeat.

"I don't want people to think I'm a joke," she said. "I'm going to run, and run to win."

Related article:
"She's able to persevere" (News & Observer)



State Was Right To Fire Abusive Employee, Judge Says

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
November 5, 2003

WOODBINE, NEW JERSEY--A state court has ruled that the state was justified when it fired a trainee for verbally abusing a Woodbine Developmental Center resident two years ago.

Administrative Law Judge W. Todd Miller said in his October 1 decision that the state could fire any trainee it considered unsuited for a job, the Press of Atlantic City reported Tuesday.

James Broughton had been assigned to work with a 16-year-old resident identified as "J.B." on October 13, 2001. According to court records, J.B., who had autism, began throwing things at and spitting on Boughton.

Workers who arrived to assist said they heard Boughton say, "I'll hurt that boy."

After Boughton was fired, he sued to get back his job as a human services assistant at the institution.

Other institution employees testified on Boughton's behalf, recounting other situations where residents became aggressive toward them.

"Woodbine based its decision on the fact that (Broughton) may not be fit for the job because of his temper," Judge Miller said. "Right or wrong, the decision was not formed with malice or bias."

Miller said that Boughton has the right to re-apply for the job.



Doctor Praised For Alleged Poison

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
November 5, 2003

PARIS, FRANCE--A 22-year-old man with disabilities was not "allowed to die" after his life support was removed -- as had been believed -- but instead was poisoned to death by his doctor, a prosecutor said Wednesday.

Vincent Humbert, who was deaf, paralyzed and could not talk, had written a book asking for the right to die. His mother, Maria, said that she and her son had worked out a way for him to die through an overdose of sedatives. That overdose attempt did not kill Humbert, however, but left him in a coma and on an artificial respirator.

Humbert died on September 26. His physician, Dr. Frederic Chaussoy, claimed that Humbert died after his respirator was removed.

On Wednesday, prosecutor Gerald Lesigne announced that medical tests have determined Humbert's death "did not result directly from stopping the artificial respirator but from the administration of Nesdonal and potassium chloride by the doctor as two successive injections."

Nesdonal is an anesthetic. Potassium chloride causes the heart to stop beating.

Dr. Chaussoy could face a life sentence if found guilty of the charge of "premeditated poisoning".

An attorney for Humbert's mother praised the doctor.

"Unplugging an artificial respirator can cause suffering," the lawyer said. "Deciding to administer this drug avoids all suffering, so the doctor . . . chose a solution that was as gentle as possible."

According to the Associated Press, the French government has begun a public survey about whether it should reconsider its ban on "mercy killing".



National Institute for Urban School Improvement

The mission of the National Institute for Urban School Improvement is to support inclusive urban communities, schools, and families to build their capacity for sustainable, successful urban education. The National Institute will accomplish this mission through dialogue, networking, technology, action research, information systems, alliance and consensus building.

A belief that underpins the National Institute's mission is that it is essential for educators to enlarge their perspective to encompass all children, all curricular reforms, all teaching reforms, all support personnel, all policies, and all strategies for student assessment, in order to ensure the rights of excluded learners. In light of this and the other complexities that urban schools face, our project focuses on three strategies that we consider essential to the urban school reform agenda.


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


Victim And Coworkers Turn Tables On Predator

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
November 5, 2001

WORTHINGTON, OHIO--A couple of weeks ago, employees at Clarion Hotel noticed that one of their coworkers got visibly upset while answering a phone call. When they later talked to the coworker, a 45-year-old dishwasher who has autism, he explained that the call was from a man who had threatened to kill him and his 83-year-old father if he did not give him his paycheck.

The dishwasher, whose name is being withheld, explained that this had been going on for about 10 years.

Those concerned coworkers called police who arranged for the alleged victim to wear a hidden microphone when he next went to cash his check. Police also placed an undercover officer at the bank.

On Monday police listened as the alleged perpetrator drove the dishwasher to the hotel to pick up his check and then to the bank to cash it. A short time later, they arrested Gregory Treadway, 34, and charged him with two counts of extortion. Police said they found $396 stuffed in Treadway's underwear. The dishwasher's two-week paycheck was $396.14.

When police questioned Treadway about the alleged extortion, he denied that he threatened the man and his father. Treadway explained that he had given the man a loan and was merely collecting at 100 percent interest. That's when police decided to charge Treadway with two counts of loan sharking based on his own admission.

In Ohio, it is illegal to charge more than 25 percent interest on a loan.

"It's just sad that there are predators out there who will do this to people," police Lt. Bob Oppenheimer told the Associated Press. "We're just grateful that we found out about it."

Treadway was being held on $100,000 bond. The charges only cover the last two paychecks, but Oppenheimer said more evidence will be presented to a grand jury.


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