Topic

disability

57 petitions

Update posted 1 week ago

Petition to Andrew Cuomo, New York State House, New York State Senate, Sue Serino, Didi Barrett, Carl Heastie, Jeffrey Dinowitz, Aileen Gunther, Angelo Santabarbara, Latoya Joyner, James Skoufis

Bailey’s Law now! Hold criminals accountable for victimizing the developmentally disabled!

 Please Support the Passage of #BaileysLaw We cannot allow criminals to get away with the death of their victims. My 19 year old autistic son, Bailey, committed suicide on 7-31-17, my birthday of all days. After nearly 20 years of complete family devotion and cultivating our lives in support, contemplation and preparation of his each new life phase, new stage, new challenge, and new triumph our lives were completely and irrevocably upended in the span of 8 minutes. Bailey had many friends. He was kind, funny, caring, generous, gentle, down to earth, and creative. He was an artist, a lover of history, and had compassion for all living things. He was a teacher his whole life as much as he was a student of it. Bailey made me stronger, made me determined, made me timely, made me adjustable, made me more understanding...and it was Bailey that made me an advocate for kids with special needs for all these years. Of course, his 3 siblings also helped make me, and him, over the years...we all made each other. Our family has always been very tight. Being a single mom the last 16 years enabled me to make my children my world, and show them we are a team. I’ve tried to give them everything I am and everything I have within me, with intention. But despite everything I’d, we’d, put in over the years my son, their brother, is gone...less then 8 minutes after leaving my side. Bailey resorted to suicide 7 days after being a victim of a financial crime, 4 days after I realized he was victimized, and less than 5 hours of being asked to ID one of the perpetrators. He was preyed upon, betrayed, and taken advantage of by a girl he knew for years and had recently befriended him. This girl connected her male friend to my son under the guise of helping them cash a check. From what I’ve been told by State Police, Bailey was hesitant to help them, unsure of whether or not the request was legitimate, and she assured my son that the request was fine and then promised him, I believe, $200 from the proceeds for his assistance. I suspect Bailey provided them with his bank card and his PIN number. On 7-24-17 the male deposited a $1675.00 fraudulent check at an atm in Highland, NY and then immediately withdrew $200 (the amount fronted with a check hold); this was caught on atm bank video. I realized there was a problem on Thursday the 27th when I noted on our joint account both the deposit and withdrawal as well as the $200 withdrawal ultimately being pulled from my separate account. Bailey was learning banking and I would transfer his disability money to the joint account so he would learn about money management, budgeting, grocery shopping, etc. Bailey was devastated over the loss. We connected with local police on the 27th, who then directed us to the nearest state troopers on the 28th, who in turn directed us to State Troopers in Highland on 7-29-17 where we filed a complaint. Later on that Saturday, my youngest son told me he overheard his brother Bailey on the phone after hearing of the banking problem on Thursday, extremely upset over the financial loss and insisting on the return of funds. On Monday, 7-31-17 the investigator came to our house at 12:30 to see if Bailey could ID the male in the bank video. Bailey claimed he did not know the person and by his reaction I believe he didn’t. At 5:16pm he left our home stating he was going for a walk to draw; this was not unlike him as his executive processing speed is slower than many and he’d use walks or drawing to manage stresses. By 5:30 I heard the emergency response sirens and ran down our street, because I never wanted my kids around the chaos when EMS was in the area, and of course I wanted to count the safety of my chicks. The area they were responding to is a nuisance area that has had more than it’s fair share of fires....but there was no fire truck, only medical response. My son had hung himself in the woods less than a block from our home. The next day I was presented with a note he’d written; he clearly believed he’d done something very wrong in trusting the wrong person. No law enforcement involved in this case believes that Bailey had the faculty to understand what was happening, or the complexities that he was a victim, and neither does any of his family nor his longstanding therapist. There is no doubt in my mind that he merely thought he was helping someone. Both accused, at this point, will only be charged minimally; one with grand larceny 4th and the other with Endangering a disabled person 1st, both class E non violent felonies. Theoretically they could each get probation. They have each since been arrested for other crimes; her on drug charges in October 2017 and him for killing a 16 year old with his car after an argument in Yonkers in December 2017. The male is being held without bail in Westchester and has yet to be charged for our case. The female was arrested and arraigned for this case but was granted release on $2000 cash/$4000 bond. I am sickened over what may be obvious to you at this point, that the charges do not reflect their role in the death of my son. People with disabilities, including autism, are among our most vulnerable community members. It seems so unjust that a charge of endangering specifically relates to affecting the mental well-being of a vulnerable person yet they are not charged with the actual consequences of this criminal action. I’m currently working with our local representatives to start the process of pushing for new legislation in the state to hold perpetrators fully accountable for the consequences of their actions. The law for Endangering in NY currently states: “Under our law, a person is guilty of Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person in the First Degree when he or she knowingly acts in a manner likely to be injurious to the physical, mental or moral welfare of a person who is unable to care for himself or herself because of physical disability, mental disease or defect. The term "knowingly” has its own special meaning in our law. I will now give you the meaning of that term. A person KNOWINGLY acts in a manner likely to be injurious to the physical, mental or moral welfare of a person who is unable to care for himself or herself because of physical disability, mental disease or defect when that person is aware that he or she is acting in such manner. Actual harm to the incompetent or physically disabled person need not result.” Currently under our criminal laws culpability for a persons suicide rests on the aspect of “aiding and abetting”, or, in practical terms, specifically aiding, directing or encouraging the suicide. This MUST change. Those that would intentionally cultivate an environment and/or circumstances specifically to use people with disabilities to commit a crime, need to be held accountable for the full range of actual damages they cause, including the death of their victim. We need #BaileysLaw to firmly establish... If a defendant is charged with endangering in the first degree, or another crime related and/or connected to a charge of endangering in the first degree (as in coconspirators/codefendant), whereby the events result in the victim’s suicide within reasonable proximity of the crime, defendants should be criminally charged for the victim’s death. This area of law, as it specifically relates to endangering, also needs to be updated to incorporate the disability standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Social Security Administration in trials. As it stands, the question of a successful trial seems tied to whether or not the victim has an IQ over 40, and can dress and feed oneself. This is an extremely low threshold for a successful trial against a perpetrator charged with endangering and is not in line with current state and federal laws to protect the disabled. There are an enormous number of people with autism, and other disabilities, who have a high IQ and can feed and clothe themselves but cannot fully meet their own needs in a manner that could be characterized as independent living. Bailey’s Law should protect anyone that can be considered a vulnerable person by including the state and federal standards of disability.   I urge you to support Bailey’s Law. It will not help my family but it will help many others. PLEASE, sign this petition to help me get it passed!  To view or VOTE YES on the #BaileysLaw bill (NY S.8541) you can visit https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2017/s8541  To learn more about my beloved Bailey you can visit the guestbook at https://m.legacy.com/obituaries/poughkeepsiejournal/obituary.aspx?n=&pid=186269333&referrer=0&preview=True To follow our journey, visit https://m.facebook.com/DearBaileyLoveMom/  Sincerely, Gae Marie Cannon, Poughkeepsie, NY

A Mourning Mom *
7,278 supporters
Update posted 4 weeks ago

Petition to Food and Drug Administration, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, Dr. Jeffrey Shuren

FDA: Ban Torture of People with Disabilities and #StopTheShock

The Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC) in Canton, Massachusetts is a “treatment center” that uses their own, non-FDA approved electric shock devices on disabled people, primarily autistic people with and without intellectual disabilities, as a way of controlling their behavior. Children and adults at the  JRC wear shock devices all day and staff of the facility deliver painful electric shocks remotely. It is the only program in the U.S. that uses these devices as punishment. The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture determined that the use of these devices is not treatment -- it is torture. In 2012 the American public became aware of what was going on inside JRC when video of Andre McCollins being shocked was released. Andre was a teenage resident of JRC. In 2002, he one day refused to take his coat off. The staff responded by placing Andre in restraints for 7 hours and shocking him 31 times. After this torture, Andre was in shock, comatose, and suffered burn wounds on his arms and legs. The trauma that he went through continues to negatively affect his mental health to this day.   In 2014 the FDA held hearings about these devices. In April 2016 it drafted regulations to ban contingent shock -- but it has not implemented them. It is time for FDA to release the regulations. What happened to Andre McCollins is not an isolated incident at JRC. The Judge Rotenberg Center claims that the electric shocks keep people from hurting themselves or others, but residents at the JRC are shocked for everything from swearing to standing up. Furthermore, electric shocks do not work to help people with disabilities avoid self-injury or aggression -- positive supports do. For every person being tortured at the JRC, there are many more people with the exact same disabilities, dealing with the exact same issues, being successfully supported in their communities without the use of dangerous and painful punishments. The worldwide autistic community and our allies call on Scott Gottlieb, Commissioner the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, to immediately ban the use of contingent electric shock in behavior modification. Additionally, we call for the state of Massachusetts to immediately shut down the Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC) in Canton, Massachusetts. Shock torture is only one of the abuses at JRC. It needs to be closed entirely, and appropriate services created in its place. All people have the right to freedom. This includes autistic people. The United States and the State of Massachusetts must protect those rights. Stop the shock, close JRC, and provide our people with the supports they need. Please sign this petition.

The Autistic Self Advocacy Network
293,954 supporters
Update posted 4 weeks 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
2,922 supporters