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

Monday, November 17, 2003
Year IV, Edition 177

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 40 more news items.

"We will work to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights as people without disabilities."

--Anthony Candido, chairman of the Milford (Connecticut) Mayor's Committee for People with Disabilities, which is working with the city's golf commission to allow a golfer to use a motorized cart on a local course (Fourth story)

"There's a real misconception out there about Terri's condition."
--Bobby Schindler, on Friday's Oprah Winfrey Show, talking about his sister, Terri Schiavo, who has been described as being in a "persistent vegetative state" in spite of opposing testimony from dozens of professionals (First story)



Schindlers Appeal Judge's Efforts To Block Them From Schiavo Suit; Family Takes Case To Oprah Show

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
November 17, 2003

TAMPA, FLORIDA--Attorneys representing the parents of 39-year-old Terri Schiavo on Friday appealed a judge's decision that blocked them from joining Governor Jeb Bush in Michael Schiavo's challenge to the law that is keeping their daughter alive.

The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) is appealing Pinellas County Circuit Court Judge W. Douglas Baird's decision to not allow Bob and Mary Schindler to intervene in the suit filed by Mr. Schaivo against the governor. The suit challenged the constitutionality of "Terri's Law", which was passed by the legislature to give Bush the authority to have Terri's feeding tube replaced on October 21, six days after it had been removed under a court order.

Mr. Schiavo's attorneys, along with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), had argued that the Schindlers should not be allowed to participate, because the suit simply involves the question of whether the governor and legislature have the power to override court rulings. Baird sided with Mr. Schiavo.

"It is important that the parents of Terri Schindler Schiavo be directly involved in defending the law that is keeping their daughter alive," said Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the ACLJ on Friday.

"The actions taken by the state legislature and the governor were not only appropriate but constitutional as well. Since 'Terri's Law' faces a serious legal challenge, it is only appropriate that the court permit Terri's parents to become a party in this case - to be directly involved - in the battle to save the life of their daughter."

Also on Friday, the 2nd District Court of Appeal issued an indefinite stay in the legal battle. Mr. Schiavo was to explain by Tuesday why his challenge to "Terri's Law" should be sped up.

Terri Schiavo's case has been watched closely by disability rights advocates for several years. Her husband and several doctors claim that she has been in a "persistent vegetative state" since she collapsed from an apparent heart attack in February 1990 and was without oxygen for several minutes. The courts have supported Mr. Schiavo's claims that Terri cannot recover from her injury, that she does not feel pain, and that she would not have wanted to live. A local judge ordered doctors to remove the gastronomy tube that provides Terri with food and water on October 15.

Terri's parents believe that she is alert and responsive and that she might improve with rehabilitative therapies that Mr. Schiavo has denied her for at least the past 10 years. They claim that Terri's husband wants her to die so that he can marry another woman with whom he has fathered two children, and so he can benefit from what's left of an insurance settlement that now pays for her treatment.

The Advocacy Center for Persons With Disabilities is investigating the Schindlers claims that Mr. Schiavo has neglected and abused Terri and that he may have caused Terri's initial collapse, perhaps by strangulation.

The Schindlers and advocates have defended Terri's right to live, noting that allowing her to die by starvation would reinforce the message that the lives of people with certain disabilities are not worth living. With their urging, Governor Bush championed the bill that gave him permission to order Terri's feeding tube reinserted on October 21, and to appoint an independent guardian to review her situation and provide the governor with recommendations.

Last Friday, the Schindler family appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show to present their case.

"Schindlers to Intervene in Case to Defend 'Terri's Law'" (Cybercast News Service)
"Was Terri Schiavo Beaten in 1990?" column by Nat Hentoff (The Village Voice)
Background and past stories: "Terri Schiavo's Right To Live" (Inclusion Daily Express)
Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation



AARP & Tennessee Disability Coalition Support ADA Court Access

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
November 17, 2003

WASHINGTON, DC--On January 13, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear another case which promises to pit the rights of people with disabilities against "state's rights".

The case involves George Lane and Beverly Jones, two Tennesseans that use wheelchairs who sued the state of Tennessee for violating their rights to equal access under the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act.

Lane, who had lost a leg in an auto accident, crawled up two flights of stairs for an arraignment on misdemeanor traffic charges at the Polk County Courthouse because there was no elevator or other accommodations. When a pretrial hearing was scheduled, Lane made his way to the ground floor of the courthouse. Once there, he refused to again crawl up the two flights of stairs. Even though Lane sent word to the judge that he was downstairs, officials arrested and jailed Lane for "failure to appear" in court.

Lane decided to sue the state for failing to follow the federal anti-discrimination law.

The other plaintiff, Beverly Jones, is a court reporter. She claims that the state's failure to make county courthouses accessible to her wheelchair has presented a hardship for her. Jones contends that she was unable to even enter four county courthouses where lawyers had hired her to record court proceedings. She listed another 19 Tennessee counties that have inaccessible courthouses.

After lower courts ruled for Lane and Jones, Tennessee's Attorney General Paul Summers appealed the case all the way to the Supreme Court.

Summers is arguing that people cannot sue states under the ADA because the states have "sovereign immunity". That argument worked two years ago in the case of Alabama v. Garrett when the high court ruled that a state employee with a disability could not sue her employer.

The Tennessee case, however, has to do with Title II of the ADA which requires "public services, programs or activities" to be made accessible to people with disabilities. The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled earlier that states can be sued if they violate citizens rights of due process -- which is a function of the courts.

A number of states, disability groups and legal associations have filed briefs in support of Lane and Jones.

At the end of last week, the AARP and the Tennessee Disability Coalition announced they would be filing a brief supporting Lane and Jones in the case.

Background and past stories:
"State of Tennessee v. George Lane and Beverly Jones" (Inclusion Daily Express)



Parents Still Have Few Answers On Son's Death, Restraint

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
November 17, 2003

PARCHMENT, MICHIGAN--Monday would have been Michael Renner-Lewis III's 16th birthday.

But the teenager who had autism died on August 25 -- the first day of school -- after he was restrained by at least four staff members.

Nearly three months later Michael's parents still have few answers.

"The thing that hurts me is . . . I cannot get any information," Michael's mother, Elizabeth Johnson, told the Kalamazoo Gazette. "I am upset at the school. I'm angry, frustrated . . ."

School officials called Johnson around 1:00 that afternoon to tell her that Michael had experienced a seizure, that he had become "agitated" about 30 minutes earlier, but that he appeared to be recovering well.

Around 1:25 a back-up caregiver arrived to pick up Michael but found him unconscious, lying on his stomach with his hands behind his back. She immediately started CPR. The Parchment Police Chief, responding to a 911 call, arrived at 1:57 and started using a portable heart defibrillator to try to resuscitate the teen.

By 2:30, Michael was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

An initial autopsy report showed "no obvious anatomical causes" of death. While waiting for the results of toxicology tests, investigators have been consulting with nationally-recognized experts on restraint-related deaths.

"I was horrified -- horrified is the word -- to hear that Michael was being restrained in school," Johnson said. "I never discussed restraints with the school, and if he was being restrained, he should not have been."

"Death probe frustrates mom" (Kalamazoo Gazette)
Background and past stories: "The Death of Michael Renner-Lewis II" (Inclusion Daily Express)



Golf Commission Reviews Ban On Motorized Carts

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
November 17, 2003

MILFORD, CONNECTICUT--The Mayor's Committee for People with Disabilities is trying to work with the Golf Course Commission to allow a golfer to use a motorized cart on the city-run Orchards 9-hole course, the Connecticut Post reported Monday.

In the past, the golf commission has banned motorized carts from the course because of concerns that they might get stuck in damp areas.

"There are areas that are wet and are meant to stay wet," said commission member Frederick Lisman.

An attorney representing the golfer told the commission during its most recent meeting that his client, who was not named, can play several holes without a cart, but that he needs one to make it through the entire course.

Officials said that allowing motorized carts would require costly upgrades and could increase greens fees. The city has acknowledged, however, that it cannot exclude golfers with disabilities.

"We will work to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights as people without disabilities," said Anthony Candido, chairman of the Mayor's Committee.

In 1997, professional golfer Casey Martin sued the PGA Tour because it refused to allow him to use a motorized cart as a workplace accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Martin claimed that his disability, called Klippel-Trenaunay-Weber syndrome, made it painful and dangerous for him to walk the long distances the PGA Tour requires during tournaments.

The PGA Tour argued that Martin's use of a cart gave him an unfair advantage over other players, because fatigue was one aspect of the competition.

The case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court where, on May 29, 2001, it was ruled in Martin's favor.

IDE Archives -- "Casey Martin, Golf and the ADA"



"Disability Employment - Another Success Story"

November 17, 2003

TAREE, AUSTRALIA--The following five paragraphs are excerpts from a recent story in the Manning River Times:

The smile is ear to ear. The teeth are flashing, the outstretched hand a sign of welcome.

Meet Kalen Collis, an 18-year-old from Upper Lansdowne who says he has 'the best job in the world'.

John has been placed in a pastoral traineeship with one of the Manning's most popular small new business, Cloud Reach Lavender Farm at Upper Lansdowne.

The match has been perfect, as is obvious from Kalen's greeting as he fronts up for the required Times interview.

It's obvious too the rapport Kalen has built up with his new employers – but importantly new friends – Di and Kevin is something special.

Entire article:
"Disability employment - another success story" (Manning River Times)




e-Buddies® creates e-mail friendships between people with and without intellectual disabilities.

e-Buddies is one of five friendship programs created by Best Buddies International, a nonprofit organization that works to enhance the lives of people with intellectual disabilities.

e-Buddies are matched based on age, gender, and similar interests. Participants agree to e-mail each other at least once a week for one year, although as the friendship develops, many e-Buddies write much more often!

Participation in e-Buddies builds computer, social, and communication skills for people with intellectual disabilities, in addition to providing an opportunity for friendship.


# EXPRESS EXTRA!!! From the Inclusion Daily Express Archives -- One year ago:


Report Finds Integrated Students Perform Better

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
November 15, 2002

NEW YORK, NEW YORK--A new report, released by a coalition of New York City advocacy groups, says that children with disabilities who are included in regular classes are three times more likely to pass standardized tests than those who are separated into special education classrooms -- as long as they continue to receive the supports they need.

The 25-page report, entitled "Learning Together: Lessons in Inclusive Education in New York City", highlights five schools in Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan that use inclusive practices to provide a "first-rate education" to students with and without disabilities. In these schools, special education teachers work side-by-side with general education teachers, giving the students the support they need in the regular classrooms.

"Integration is not only possible, but also desirable for children with many different types of disabilities," the report concludes.

The study warns, however, that few schools provide the supports that students need in the general classrooms, and that far too many children are "languishing in segregated settings when they could benefit from more contact with general education students."

The report itself is available here in MSWord format:


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