Little Girl Denied Access Because Her Wheelchair Would Dirty Up Museum’s Carpets
Hello and welcome to Mericuh’ where you will be as shocked as I am that utter nonsense like this still happens, even after we have, you know, laws-N-stuff to keep things exactly like this from happening. 11-year-old Lexi Hass was out for a fun day with her family and they decided to visit the Ships Of The Sea Museum in Savannah, Georgia. Lexi’s dad, Dr. Stephen Haas, was a bit concerned about bringing Lexi into the museum to view the exhibits because it is housed in a historic building, and since Lexi is in a wheelchair I’m sure he was worried about the building being totally wheelchair accessible. But what he wasn’t prepared for was the museum employee who told him and his wife that Lexi couldn’t use her own wheelchair because IT WOULD GET THE CARPETS DIRTY.
I wish I was joking. The employee said that Lexi could either the museum’s wheelchair, or else she could sit outside all alone and view a video exhibit while her family enjoyed the museum. OH WHEE. Not only is it difficult for Lexi to switch wheelchairs, she has a rareÂ neurological condition called Kernicterus that has left her physically non-functional, and the chair she uses is specially designed for her but the idea of leaving a kid alone watching a (probably boring) video while her parents are elsewhere is totally absurd. And not safe for any kid. According to WBTV:
Haas says Lexi, who can’t sit up on her own, was not able to use the museum’s wheelchair because it didn’t have straps that Lexi needs.Â The museum then offered to “have Lexi sit outside and watch a video on a tiny TV while the rest of us walked through the exhibits,” the family posted on Facebook on Sunday.
The museum’s director has apologized to the family and explained to the staff member that no guest should be required to use the museum’s wheelchair, and the family has accepted the apology and they aren’t looking to file a lawsuit. But as the parents explained, things like this really shouldn’t happen, anywhere.
“They really need to train their staff. They really do. It’s a significant error and significant departure in the current thinking on disability access,” Lexi’s mother Susan Haas said.
They asked their daughter if she would like to return to the museum and she said “no” which, you know, I wouldn’t want to either. I’m sure there are many other museums who would love to welcome Lexi and her wheelchair as a guest.