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Ohio


Advocacy group accuses Ohio of violating the American with Disabilities Act
Disability Rights Ohio says a lawsuit could be coming if the state doesn't act quickly
Story by TERRELL JOHNSON


 
Advocacy group says people with disabilities deserve to participate fully in life and that the state is segregating them.
Courtesy of Disability Rights Ohio
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Disability Rights Ohio has sent a letter to state officials claiming Ohio is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. During an 18-month investigation, the agency visited private facilities that work with people with disabilities, talked with those clients and reviewed state documents.

Michael Kirkman, executive director of Disability Rights Ohio, says the state’s system is highly segregated and needs to change.

LISTEN: Kirkman disability rights

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“It’s up to the state whether there’s going to be a lawsuit or not. We’re waiting to hear back from them and were very willing to enter into meaningful negotiations for the state to come up with proposals that would address these concerns.
"If there unable to do that or unwilling to do that then were going to have to re-evaluate what the next step is and litigation would certainly be an option at that point.”

Kirkman says the investigation found that many of the clients spend virtually all of their time with other people with disabilities, which violates the spirit of the ADA.

His organization has asked state officials to respond to the letter by the end of the month. The Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities says it is carefully reviewing the letter. 

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