39 petitions

Update posted 6 days ago

Petition to Bob Steinburg, Bill Cook, Roy Cooper, Walter Jones

"Kendall's Cameras" for NC Special Needs Classrooms

Our family has been fortunate to have teachers and administrators who truly care about Kendall and to these people we will be eternally grateful.  Unfortunately, we have had others who have had a negative impact on our family and will not soon be forgotten by my daughter or our family.  Below is our story. How many of you have been awakened in the middle of the night by your son or daughter?  We all have but the reason my daughter wakes every night is probably different from yours.  Anxiety is the reason my daughter is unable to sleep through the night - anxiety from experiences no child should endure.  During a 3 year span our beautiful daughter was being mistreated by the people who were supposed to be caring for her.  These same people grabbed my daughter, pushed my daughter, pulled my daughter across her classroom and humiliated her in the presence of her peers.  These same people yelled and screamed at my daughter - face to face!  They screamed for her to leave class and sent her out into the hallway alone and confused.  They intentionally agitated her by doing things they knew would upset her and trigger undesirable, uncontrollable behavior.  They once even confiscated my daughter’s shoes because they feared she “might throw them”.  Although my daughter was clearly distraught, they refused to return her shoes and placed her in a dark corner at the end of a short hallway where she could not see or be seen by any other person.  She was berated and belittled because she was unable to control herself in a large, noisy gym with children running around screaming.  My daughter has been disciplined for behavior that children without a disability are not punished for.  My daughter has been called names by a teacher and been accused of being a manipulator. Kendall has actually been admittedly mocked by a teacher on 2 different occasions. My daughter apologized to an administrator who walked off without even acknowledging my daughter and then yelled back across a hallway that she accepted her apology.  She humiliated my daughter in front of other children but also in front of other adults who never said a word in defense of my child.  Kendall has been threatened with criminal prosecution and there have been many attempts to intimidate me to make me “fall in line”.   There were some positive changes at the end of her time at school and my daughter was able to return to a new school with new teachers.  She’s was very successful in the beginning but this was short lived as the damage had already been done.  Kendall finds it difficult to trust or form any type of bond with others and although this can be attributed to autism it has become almost impossible after the trauma she has endured.  As you can imagine we were devastated and infuriated when we discovered the things that happened to our once happy child but to also know that others knew and did nothing.  They didn’t speak up or step up and in fact, we have seen people promoted, recognized and rewarded and it is inexpiable why some are even still allowed to work with children at all.  Unfortunately, this is happening across our county, our state and our country.  We need cameras in special needs classrooms to protect our children from those who do not have the necessary mind set, training or desire to truly help our children and support our families.  Families should not have to worry about whether or not our children are safe at elementary, middle and high school.  We shouldn’t have to prepare for meetings as if we are taking the bar exam.  Our children should have full access to programs that are available at school but officials keep them quiet and we have to seek out programs as they aren’t usually readily available.  When you take your child to school do you worry about an adult pushing, pulling, grabbing and screaming in our child’s face?  This is a daily concern for us. If these things were perpetrated against a non-disabled child it would be considered assault but for some reason it is acceptable treatment for our children.  This is the nightmare, the same nightmare every night, which my daughter has been unable to escape. She has been out of school for over 2 years but she is still waking me at night with the same fears and anxiety.  Please read the stories below in our update section and you will clearly see this is an ongoing problem and a few states have already implemented cameras to protect their students along with the teachers and staff who truly care about our kids. Support our efforts by signing and forwarding our petition to your friends and family.  Thank you! In 1998, the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis estimated that 3 individuals with special needs die every week in US schools and Institutions due to abusive practices like restraint and seclusion. The Hartford Courant, which had requested the study, concluded that the actual toll could be three to ten times higher than estimated.  

Toni Kriss
2,885 supporters
Update posted 1 week ago

Petition to Sherrod Brown, Robert Casey, Bill Cassidy, Mike Crapo, Pat Toomey, Rob Portman, DIane Feinstein, Sam Johnson, Tom Rice, David Schweikert, Vern Buchanan, Mike Kelly, Jim Renacci, Jason Smith, John Larson, Bill Pascrell, Joseph Crowley, Linda Sanchez, Anna Eshoo, George Holding

End Social Security's Disability Nightmare

Social Security’s disability determination program's been broken for decades. Everyone knows somebody who’s endured this tragedy. I wrote a bipartisan bill to fix the problem called the Eastman Disability Reform Act—the most substantial disability reform in the history of Social Security. This Act restores the public's trust in the agency and Congress, while this petition is asking the 16 members of both the Social Security subcommittees in the House and Senate to take action. Between 800,000 and 1.2 million people file disability appeals yearly—over half of them later win, taking up to 3 years. During this time, many of these honest Americans declare bankruptcy and become homeless. Tragically, 1 in 6 men (and 1 in 7 women) die within 5 years of receiving disability benefits.  The rejection of all disability claims is mandated by the agency at a level of 85% (or more) of all applications. This objective's cryptically disguised as the National Agree Rate. The agency has been operating without accountability or impunity for two decades, while 10,000 died awaiting benefits this year! The SSD trust fund will be exhausted in 2023, according to a 2017 Congressional Budget Office report. "Baby Boomers" born between 1946 and 1964 have been postponing retirement, with many becoming disabled; causing extra strain to the SSD determination process. The agency won't add staff because they project the backlog ending in 2025...two years after the disability trust fund's exhausted!  A former college roommate (who was born legally blind) was denied in 1994 when he applied at 18. He had to appeal and has the same "horror story" echoed by so many today. I have 8 qualifying conditions and am currently in my second year of appeal. This has occurred with the agencies knowledge for two decades, and, without congressional intervention. We must improve the access and availability of medical records used for determinations by ensuring they're in a usable file format all applicants can securely access. Sending .TIFF picture format files to applicants with encryption software which must be installed on a Windows computer with an optical drive makes it impossible for many to see the records in their agency file.  Agency contracted physicians examining claimants will finally see relief from extreme patient caseloads. This will allow for vastly better patient evaluations and less unecessary appeals. Please help a million honest people each year who cannot work and have paid into disability their entire career. We must end the "disability impossibility" so future generations don't assume it's an acceptable part of being disabled in America. Click here to download a summary and full text of the bill. Click here to ask your Senator to support this bill. Click here to ask your House member to support this bill.

Darren Eastman
1,523 supporters
Update posted 3 weeks ago

Petition to Department of Justice, Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, Mike Pence, Jeff Sessions

Provide benefits for police officers disabled in the line of duty

The Public Safety Officers’ Benefits (PSOB) program through the department of justice currently allows for payment of a one-time benefit to the survivors of officers killed in the line of duty.  The benefit also applies to officers who are 100% disabled in the line of duty and rendered completely unable to work. Benefits covering college tuition are also extended to the survivors of a deceased officer and the dependents of a disabled officer.  However, this does nothing to assist officers who are deemed disabled in the eyes of their department, but do not qualify for 100% disability. I suffered a severe back injury and damage to my sciatic nerve when a fleeing suspect rammed my patrol car.  I am unable to serve as a police officer anymore.  That does not mean that I will never be able to work again in a different capacity.  But I need help.  So do many other forgotten disabled officers. As the system currently stands, a disabled police officer would provide better financial support for their family if they were to succumb to their injury, or even commit suicide.  We need encouragement, assistance, purpose, and a reason to live.  Under the duress of a line of duty disability and the cumulating effects of the stress of the job, the men and women who sacrifice their health in the protection of others do not need financial justification for our own death.  We need help getting back on our feet and going back to work.  Instead, I propose the following solution: 1.     Amend the PSOB program to offer payment to first responders who are forced into retirement due to a line of duty disability regardless of the percentage of disability that their department deemed necessary for retirement.  2.     Remove the one year time limit on filing a claim under the PSOB system.  Many officers do not accept the fact that they need assistance until several years after their incident. 3.     Adjust the College Assistance benefit to include the disabled officer as an option of occupational retraining.  Help us go back to school. 4.     For officers who do not reach the term of service needed for Student Loan Forgiveness, make line of duty disabilities a qualifying event that will fulfill the requirements to forgive any and all federal student loans acquired prior to the line of duty incident. These simple changes will reduce the stress associated with such a critical life changing incident, and provide help to those of us who are often too proud to ask for it.  Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter. Myself and thousands of other officers who have made physical sacrifices feel that there is nowhere else to turn for help.     

Salvatore Zagami
1,133 supporters