So about that Jewish community center in Georgia that received a bomb threat today. It wasn’t mine, it’s in Columbus and I’m in Augusta, which are at opposite ends of the state. But it’s a very tiny one, in a small town that has one or two institutions where all the Jews in the area congregate, blurring denominational lines in a lot of cases, because there aren’t enough Jews to support multiple communities. This Sunday is Purim, and I am considering attending prayers at my local Chabad House, because hearing the megillah is a mitzvah, (and I really should do more of those), community, celebrating with other Jews, ETC., and I now need to add whether or not the possibility of a bomb threat or similar is an acceptable risk to those considerations. Not that this is a new thing. It happens to Muslims, and to people who might look like they’re “Muslim”, and anybody else who is not straight, white, and an acceptable form of Christian. None of this is OK. I had very little empathy or simpathy for Trump supporters and Trump voters before this. I have zero now. You guys opened this door, and there isn’t a violin small enough for the Trump voters who are now whining because they’re being ostricized. I think ostricism is an incredibly small price to pay.

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Blind people on the Facebook posting pro-DeVoss crap and I am done. I suppose you think it’s OK to have a secretary of education who has indicated that she is not willing to enforce IDEA, which is the federal law that guaranteed all of you the right to a public education with the resources you needed to succeed. If you needed resources in braille or other alternative formats, you got them because of IDEA. If you needed a notetaker, (human or tech), you got it because of IDEA. If you needed a mobility instructor to work with so you could learn your way around the school before you started classes, you got that because of IDEA. But hell, we already made it through the system, and we got what we wanted, so who cares, right? Screw future generations of kids with disabilities. We already got ours. Screw accessibility professionals who have kids with disabilities, because the only thing that matters is that we get stuff that works with our screen readers, and who cares if they and their kids have to suffer and do tons of extra advocacy. As long as they keep fighting for our rights, we don’t give a damn if they get thrown under the bus. Dropping out of snark mode, those accessibility professionals who have kids with disabilities work day in and day out to champion a civil right, an undisputed civil right to an education without being segregated away from your non-disabled peers, that you are apparently perfectly willing to deny to others. They do it without complaint, and often without so much as a thank-you. And, (assuming DeVoss is confirmed), they will continue to do it after they and their kids are thrown under the bus, with your help apparently. So yeah, if you’re pro-DeVoss, I do not ever want to see a complaint about how you can’t get an accessible book, or about how some app or website is inaccessible, or how some kid with disabilities in Texas is being denied an education again. Ever, ever again. Because I do not give a fuck about how shitty your life is as an adult with disabilities if you are willing to risk visiting that same shitwizardry on the lives of kids with disabilities and their parents.

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Last night, the president announced his Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch. I won’t post the entire fact sheet, but you can download the Neil Gorsuch fact sheet, (pdf) and read for yourself. Below is the section on students with disabilities, including references to cases and opinions. Granted, the left isn’t exactly a paragon of disability rights. However, depriving students with disabilities of their rights under either IDEA or the ADA is just screwed up, and makes a Gorsuch appointment just about as bad as appointing Betsy DeVoss, except that Gorsuch will stay on the Supreme Court for decades. From the fact sheet:

Gorsuch would not protect the rights of disabled students

Contrary to an earlier decision by an impartial hearing officer, Judge Gorsuch held that a
student with autism did not have a right under the federal Individuals with Disabilities
Education Act (IDEA) to an education that would provide a chance to achieve intellectual
and social skills outside the classroom. This, even though Congress made clear that
?prepar[ing] [students] to lead productive and independent adult lives, to the maximum
extent possible” is a major goal of the IDEA. See Thompson R2-J Sch. Dist. v. Luke P., ex
rel. Jeff P., 540 F.3d 1143 (10th Cir. 2008).

Over a vigorous dissent, Judge Gorsuch authored the majority opinion in A.F. ex rel
Christine B. v. Española Pub. Sch., 801 F.3d 1245 (10th Cir. 2015), which held that a student
cannot, for technical reasons, assert a claim for violations of the Americans with Disabilities
Act if she had earlier settled with a school district for violations of the IDEA even though, as
Congress made clear, students have distinct rights under both laws.
Judge Gorsuch authored the majority opinion in Garcia v. Board of Education of
Albuquerque Public Schools, 520 F.3d 1116 (10th Cir. 2008), holding that even when a
school violates a student’s rights under the IDEA, the student may still be entitled to no
remedy for an IDEA violation if the student leaves the school out of frustration with the
school‘s continuous failure to follow the IDEA.

Supreme Court justices are confirmed by the senate. So, if you care about the rights of people with disabilities, (especially students), then if you’re not already ringing your congresscriters’ phones off the hook over some of these other nominees, now would be a good time to start.

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