Zoo To Stop Pushing Waivers For Wheelchair Users
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
December 1, 2006
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA-A settlement between the Disability Rights Legal Center and the Zoological Society of San Diego means that visitors to the world famous San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park who use wheelchairs or motorized scooters will no longer be singled out and asked to sign liability waivers.
According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, the federal suit was filed in November of last year over the zoo's policy of pulling users of wheelchairs and motorized scooters from the waiting line to present them either with waivers of liability or documents acknowledging that by entering the park they were agreeing to the waivers.
The plaintiffs -- Rick Kneeshaw and Gladys Swensrud, both polio survivors and longtime members of the Zoological Society -- said the policy had amounted to discrimination against visitors with disabilities and suggested they were liable for any accidents even if the zoo was at fault.
Shawna Parks, litigation director for the legal center, told the paper that many people said they had avoided visiting the zoo for fear of what they might be subjected to.
"We want people to know it's OK to go back to the zoo now," she said.
"Zoo discards waivers for wheelchair users" (San Diego Union-Tribune)