Stop Disability Discrimination - Pass Layla's Law
  • Petitioning President Barack Obama

This petition will be delivered to:

President Barack Obama
Pennsylvania
Sen. Robert Casey
Pennsylvania
Sen. Pat Toomey
Pennsylvania
Gov. Thomas Corbett

Stop Disability Discrimination - Pass Layla's Law

    1. Elizabeth Finnegan
    2. Petition by

      Elizabeth Finnegan

      Brookhaven, United States

We want to have a law introduced that will require employees in ADA Accessible buildings/parks, as well as all employees working in family and child geared companies, to receive specific training on disabilities: not only those you can see, but also the invisible ones.  

On December 14-15, while on a trip to Hershey, PA with our two daughters, our youngest, Layla, who is 2, was subjected to horrible discrimination-through-ignorance. Layla was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Hypotonia, and Global Developmental Delay. Hypotonia is low tone, and causes her to be exceptionally clumsy. Autism provides our baby many daily struggles, with sensory processing issues being at the forefront of these issues.  

When in public, we have to keep Layla in a stroller, or else she is completely unable to handle any new/crowded/loud/bright/overly stimulating situations. She also benefits from the stroller for safety reasons related to her Hypotonia. This is not uncommon, and special needs strollers are even made for children as old as 8-9-10-and up.  

During our trip, even with a copy of Layla's diagnosis and an ADA slip for the stroller, Layla was repeatedly turned away from ADA Accessible areas in both Chocolate World and Hershey Park, both of which are places geared towards families and children. She was even turned away from a visit with Santa Claus. our 4 year old, Mary, was convinced that Santa didn't like her little sister.    

After speaking with upper-management at both locations on the phone, we realized that the primary issue was a total lack of education provided to employees in both areas, despite the fact that they were specifically working ADA Accessible areas. It was due to this lack of education that we were publically humiliated, and left heartbroken. One employee even accused us of lying.   The Americans with Disabilities Act is geared towards protecting disabled people - but how can it possibly be enforced and protected if people are handed the keys to a company with absolutely no training?  

We have had a meeting with our State Representative, Joe Hackett, who's support we have in this. We also have the support of the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of the Autism Society of America.   We are asking you to introduce, and pass, Layla's Law (or whatever name you choose to give it), which will require this specific training to employees who will regularly come into contact with people like my baby girl, who may look just like everyone else on the outside, but struggle with "invisible disabilities." 

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Patriot News

      Elizabeth Finnegan
      Petition Organizer
      'Layla's Law' push, spurred by alleged discrimination at Hershey attractions, generates 50,000-plus signatures

      If "Layla's Law" comes to pass, it will be the result of barriers a family of a child with autism say they encountered at Hersheypark and Hershey's Chocolate World. Edward Mongelluzzo and Elizabeth Finnegan of Delaware County say their two-year-old daughter, Layla, was denied access to several attractions, including a visit with Santa Claus.

    2. ABC News

      Elizabeth Finnegan
      Petition Organizer
      Pa. senator backs child denied at Hershey attractions

      Pa. senator backs child denied at Hershey attractions Posted: Thursday, March 27, 2014 6:32 PM EDT Updated: Friday, March 28, 2014 11:55 AM EDT HERSHEY, Pa. (WHTM) - The attractions in Hershey were early pioneers of accessibility for special needs families. "There's just nothing like when my son went down the log flume; his eyes were amazed.

    3. Fox News

      Elizabeth Finnegan
      Petition Organizer
      2-year-old with autism kept out of Hersheypark attraction

      A Delaware County family's experience at two central PA theme parks has caught the attention of a lawmaker. The Mongelluzzo family visited Hershey's Chocolate World and Hersheypark in December. Layla Mongelluzzo is 2 years old. Because she has autism and hypotonia, she needs to ride in her stroller when she's out.

    4. UPDATE!!!!

      Elizabeth Finnegan
      Petition Organizer

      I wanted to write to inform all of you about the progress we are making. I have been in regular contact with a Representative of Senator Casey's office. In order to have this passed as a law on a federal level, we need a representative in Congress to sponsor the bill, and take it before the voting parties. The Rep I have been in contact with wrote to me yesterday. He is composing a letter to the Department of Justice which will outline our specific issue, as well as the petition, the support its received, and a few of your stories. They will be working with the DOJ in order to see exactly where the gap in the existing law is, so that the bill writing is accurate and thorough. We are so incredibly excited that not only is our petition being taken seriously, but that careful and proper steps are being taken in order to secure the accuracy and future passage of this bill. We will continue to keep you all posted on the situation, and thank you IMMENSELY for all of your support!!

    5. Reached 50,000 signatures
    6. Interview with Stephanie Stahl of CBS Philly

      Elizabeth Finnegan
      Petition Organizer
      Health: Local Girl's Family Claims Daughter Was Discriminated Against at Hershey, Now They're Trying To Make A Difference

      A disabled little girl was barred from popular attraction, including a visit to Santa. Now her parents are trying to make sure it doesn't happen to others. 3 On Your Side Health Reporter Stephanie Stahl has more on the push to change federal laws.

    7. Daily Times Article, by Rose Quinn

      Elizabeth Finnegan
      Petition Organizer
      Fighting for Layla's Law

      Try changing the mind of a 4-year-old who believed Santa Claus wouldn't see her 2-year-old sister, who is autistic and extremely accident-prone due to extended ankles and low tone in her leg muscles, because he didn't like her.

    8. CBS Philly

      Elizabeth Finnegan
      Petition Organizer

      Our story and petition will be featured on CBS Philly tomorrow night at 11. I will post a link once it airs to anyone who's unable to catch it. Thank you all immensely for your continued support. This is something that we will continue to actively and passionately pursue until it is a reality, for our child, for all of you, and for anyone and everyone who has been - or could be - positively affected by the passage of this law. Internet bullies can't make us back down.

    9. Reached 40,000 signatures
    10. Preparing...

      Elizabeth Finnegan
      Petition Organizer

      We are preparing a presentation to our Congressional Representatives at this time. To introduce the law at a federal level, we need a representative from Congress to sponsor it (essentially, they would introduce the bill on behalf of us to the voting members). We are very optimistic that we will be able to get our PA Representatives on board. In the event that we have any issue with that, we will begin branching out to other states. Thank you all so much, for caring about this as much as we do! As sad as it is that we even need a law for this, unfortunately that is the case. All of your stories have tugged at our hearts, occasionally bringing us to tears. This isn't just a battle for us, it's for all of you, and we wont ever give up. We will continue to keep you all posted on all updates!

    11. Reached 20,000 signatures
    12. Facebook page

      Elizabeth Finnegan
      Petition Organizer

      We have created a facebook page in order to more easily update everyone on any and all developments. And please, continue to share our petition with your friends and family. Thank you! The page is located at: https://www.facebook.com/PassLaylasLaw

      Pass Layla's Law

      Pass Layla's Law. 159 likes. We want to have a law introduced that will require employees in ADA Accessible buildings/parks, as well as all employees working in family and child geared companies, to receive specific training on disabilities: not only those you can see, but also the invisible ones.

    13. Reached 1,000 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Molly Brind'Amour ROCHESTER, NY
      • 17 days ago

      Everyone deserves to have accommodations made for their disabilities

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Susan Shields SANTA ROSA, CA
      • 29 days ago

      My Niece's family is dealing and fighting the terrible discrimination their son suffers daily.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Barbara Montgomery NORTH AUGUSTA, SC
      • 29 days ago

      My grandchild has a form of this

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Sharon Fierro SANTA ROSA, CA
      • about 1 month ago

      My nephew has a brain injury and is discriminated against

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Tonya Ridenour REDMOND, OR
      • about 1 month ago

      One of my sons is autistic as well. People need to be trained and educated.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

    Develop your own tools to win.

    Use the Change.org API to develop your own organizing tools. Find out how to get started.