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Disabled 11-Year-Old Girl Not Allowed In Museum Because Her Wheelchair Would "Get Carpets Dirty"

Posted by on Jul. 10, 2013 at 2:26 PM
  • 52 Replies


Disabled 11-Year-Old Girl Not Allowed In Museum Because Her Wheelchair Would "Get Carpets Dirty"

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A Charlotte family says their 11-year-old daughter was not allowed into a museum recently because staff said her wheelchair would “get the carpets dirty.”

The girl, Lexi Haas, suffers from Kernicterus, a condition that has left her almost nonfunctional physically.

Lexi and her parents planned to visit the Ships of the Sea Museum in Savannah, Ga. They were worried about Lexi’s visit since the museum is located in a historical building where it would be difficult to navigate a wheelchair. But apparently the problem was not getting around the museum — it was getting into it.

When the family arrived at the museum, an employee told them that Lexi would not be allowed to enter because her wheelchair would dirty the carpets. When her father, Stephen Haas, pointed out that his shoes were just as dirty as his daughter’s wheelchair, the employee was not convinced. Museum staff told the family that if Lexi wanted to enter she would have to use one of the museum’s wheelchairs.

But Lexi cannot use a standard wheelchair. Because of her condition, she has to use a wheelchair with total body braces and supports from head to toe. The museum staff told the Haas family that they could enter the museum while Lexi was shown a video outside. As you would expect, the family did not take the museum up on their offer.

The museum has apologized to the girl and her family and say the staff did not handle the situation properly. The Haas family is not looking to file a lawsuit against the museum; they just want the story to raise awareness on the importance of accommodating people with disabilities.

"They really need to train their staff. They really do," said Lexi's mother, Susan. "It's a significant error and significant departure in the current thinking on disability access. You shouldn't restrict someone because of her disability.” 

Sources: Daily Mail, WBTV

by on Jul. 10, 2013 at 2:26 PM
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Replies (1-10):
jehosoba84
by Jenn on Jul. 10, 2013 at 2:29 PM
7 moms liked this

Good story. I'm glad they brought it to the public's attention without feeling the need to sue over it. 

Ktina11
by Bronze Member on Jul. 10, 2013 at 2:29 PM
1 mom liked this
I agree with the dad. His shoes and evryone else's shoes would be just as dirty. The employee was severely wrong.
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Sisteract
by Whoopie on Jul. 10, 2013 at 3:25 PM
2 moms liked this

 How about cleaning the wheels first and then admitting her?

UpSheRises
by Platinum Member on Jul. 10, 2013 at 3:27 PM
3 moms liked this

What parent would leave thier child outside to watch a video? Why would they even suggest that?

ihave1
by Member on Jul. 10, 2013 at 3:31 PM

Thats wonderful they didnt sue.  Like UpSheRises said, what parent would leave thier kid outside. lol    Hope the people who would not let her in lost their job.

Elyssa414
by Member on Jul. 10, 2013 at 3:35 PM
That's disgusting! I'm glad they made the story public!
jaxTheMomm
by Platinum Member on Jul. 10, 2013 at 3:36 PM
1 mom liked this

Glad it resulted in the employees receiving better training, although it's hard to comprehend that someone would actually need to be trained to not deny entry to her...

Anyway, the museum needs to invite that family back and provide a docent to give them a tour.  That would be a really nice gesture on their part.

canadianmom1974
by Gold Member on Jul. 10, 2013 at 3:40 PM
1 mom liked this
I agree that it's great they don't want to sue, just raise awareness, but I don't agree that the employees should lose their jobs. They should instead be better trained.

Also if the museum is concerned about dirty wheels (though as the dad stated, everyone's shoes are just as dirty as the wheels), there are wheel covers available they could provide. A local bowling alley here has them for patrons in wheelchairs.


Quoting ihave1:

Thats wonderful they didnt sue.  Like UpSheRises said, what parent would leave thier kid outside. lol    Hope the people who would not let her in lost their job.

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Thelmama
by Bronze Member on Jul. 10, 2013 at 3:42 PM

The staff member that said that, needs more than education. If I were that person's boss, he or she would lose their job.

TruthSeeker.
by Milami on Jul. 10, 2013 at 4:01 PM
1 mom liked this
Stop offering logical advice.

Quoting Sisteract:

 How about cleaning the wheels first and then admitting her?

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