Handicap This!: March-April 2016

From the March-April 2016 issue of News & Letters

by Suzanne Rose

Students with mental health needs are denied an equal education as a result of their placement in a segregated school operated by the Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD), according to a class action lawsuit filed in federal court in Los Angeles by the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law on Jan, 27, 2016. The complaint says that PUSD and its superintendent are violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by warehousing scores of children with mental health needs at PUSD’s Focus Point Academy, a separate school where children receive an inferior education and are subjected to dangerous physical restraints, forced isolation and threatened with repeated arrests and suspensions for minor offenses.

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DISABLED WHEELCHAIRThe Florida Department of Corrections routinely denies disabled prisoners access to wheelchairs, canes, sign language interpreters, and hearing aids, claims a disability rights group in court. The lawsuit was filed in Tallahassee Federal Court on behalf of 32 inmates, According to the complaint, filed in February of this year, the Florida Department of Corrections chose to purposely violate the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, the Eighth Amendment and the due process clause of the U.S. Constitution.

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The U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said in February that it is proposing a rule that would require federal agencies to work toward a 12% workforce representation rate for people with disabilities and a 2% representation rate for those with targeted or severe conditions including intellectual disability. The rule calls for government agencies to provide personal assistants to employees with disabilities who need help with eating, using the restroom and other basic human functions at work. The hiring goals would apply to all levels of federal employment.

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