Deaf child sues Disney
michael3 at earthlink.net
Tue Jun 18 09:47:32 PDT 1996
Karen Ozmun wrote:
> [forwarded from a listserv out of gallaudet university.]
> Deaf Child Sues Walt Disney World for Discrimination
> Emily Harrison, a five-year-old deaf child, and her parents
> filed an Americans with Disabilities Act lawsuit Friday, June 14
> in federal district court against Walt Disney World, alleging
> that Disney discriminated against Emily on the basis of her
> deafness by refusing to provide sign language interpreters to
> enable her to participate in the rides and attractions at Disney
> When Emily's parents, Brian and Judy Harrison, began
> planning their trip to Disney World, they contacted Disney and
> requested that Disney provide interpreter services for Emily.
> Disney refused, and instead sent the Harrisons scripts for only
> four of the more than 100 attractions at the amusement park.
> Although Emily's parents informed Disney that Emily could
> not yet read, Disney still refused to provide an interpreter for
> Emily. Finally, the Harrisons hired an interpreter themselves for
> a couple of hours each day so that Emily could enjoy at least
> some of the attractions.
> In the complaint, the Harrisons, represented by Laura Rovner
> and Marc Charmatz of the National Association of the Deaf Law
> Center, and Douglas Noah of the Orlando firm of Dean, Ringers,
> Morgan & Lawton, alleged that Disney's refusal to provide
> interpreter services for Emily discriminates against her on the
> basis of her deafness in violation of Title III of the Americans
> with Disabilities Act (ADA). Under Title III of the ADA,
> privately owned places of public accommodation, including
> amusement parks, must provide auxiliary aids and services for
> deaf and hard of hearing individuals to ensure effective
> communication between the parties.
> "Disney World holds itself out as a magical place for all
> kids, but the message that Disney sent to Emily Harrison is that
> you are not welcome in the Magic Kingdom if you are deaf," stated
> Laura Rovner, attorney for the Harrisons. "To refuse to provide a
> sign language interpreter for a five-year-old deaf child to enjoy
> the attractions at Disney World is discrimination. The purpose of
> the ADA is to make public accommodations, like Disney World,
> accessible to everyone."
> In their lawsuit, the Harrisons have asked the U.S. District
> Court for the Middle District of Florida to require Disney to
> change its policy regarding the provision of sign language
> interpreters for Emily and other deaf patrons. They are also
> seeking reimbursement for the interpreter services they paid for.
> "It is ludicrous for Disney to expect that written
> transcripts for a handful of its attractions would be equivalent
> to the vast amount of information that is afforded on a daily
> basis to hearing patrons," said Nancy J. Bloch, executive
> director of the National Association of the Deaf. "In this day
> and age, Disney's actions and attitudes with regard to
> the access needs of deaf and hard of hearing patrons ar not
> (contributed by Nancy Creighton)
Thanks for posting the article about the five year old deaf
child and Disney's reluctance to accomodate her disability.
Personally I was angry at the idea of the people at Disneyland
treating a child, especially one who cannot hear, in such a
discriminatory fashion. If the facts are correct, it is my opinion that
this kind of behavior by a company should not be tolerated.
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