Thursday, August 07, 2008

Blind Skaters Back on the Ice - Baltimore News

From ABC News...

A group of kids from summer camp thought it would be fun to go ice skating.

All of the campers and their counselors were blind.

All of the campers and their counselors say they were denied access at Northwest Skate center...because of that blindness.

"We just wanted to come and skate just like everybody else it's skating night we wanted to take part in that." Marco Carranza said Tuesday night.

Northwest Skate Center Board Chair Jackie Eliasberg told ABC 2 News by phone that this was not a question of this being a group of blind skaters....but the fact that it was a very large group of people.

"If we knew ahead of time, with planning we could have worked it out. We ask that of any large group." She said.

Eliasberg says since there were a lot of first time skaters they offered to start the group in a corner of the rink, something they do all the time.

"We've worked with groups of people with disabilities for 37 years. When we tried to accommodate this group our offers of assistance were turned down." Eliasberg said.

But camp counselor Rosie Colanza said they felt like they were treated differently.

"Then the lady suggested that we have our own special area for skating and i told her that was not acceptable she said that's what we do with other parties and I said I’m sure you do if it's requested and we're just requesting equal access to the rink." Colanza said.

The skaters did not skate on Tuesday... Wednesday afternoon, they came back.

This time it was different.

After talking with the management Colanza came out and told the group the news.

"Okay we've worked everything out and we're going to have our skate for independence today.” She said.

So everyone laced up and hit the ice.

Marco who had been skating since he was a kid was glad to be back but what it took to get there, he says didn't need to happen.

"They tired to bar us from coming in here because they assumed that it was gong to be some sort of...some kind of problem." He said.

The campers say they'll be back again.

read more | digg story

1 comment:

Ice Mom said...

I'm glad the skaters and the rink could come to terms. I think it's great that the camp took the kids to the rink for a new experience.