The National Association of the Deaf on Friday released a statement declaring its unequivocal support for the Rocky Mountain Deaf School in its battle for a new home in Lakewood, Colorado.
Chief Executive Officer Howard Rosenblum, in response to my e-mail request for comment, said NAD staff and board members previously were “aware of some of the issues regarding the schools’ attempt to purchase land through social media, but are extremely concerned by what we see” after further review of more recent articles including the two published on DeafEcho.com.
He then provided the following statement, which outlines clearly that any effort to prevent the rezoning and RMDS’s purchase of the land is discriminatory and subject to federal anti-discrimination laws.
Statement in support of RMDS:
While our attention has been recently focused on other matters such as the Convention on Rights of People with Disabilities and other political matters on the federal level in Washington, DC, this “NIMBY” issue is truly troubling.
The National Association of the Deaf strongly supports the mission of the Rocky Mountain Deaf School and urges the residents and government of Lakewood, Colorado to ensure that RMDS is allowed to purchase the land as agreed upon with the already approved zoning. To deny such a purchase and zoning is clearly an act of discrimination against deaf and hard of hearing children. Any act that denies the sale and zoning of the land for a deaf school violates the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Therefore, we ask that the residents be aware of this legal protection and that they not sign a petition which would be illegal and improper in any event. We also ask the Lakewood government officials to continue their support of RMDS and to push back against any petition that denies this opportunity for deaf children to receive a quality education in Lakewood. The NAD offers RMDS assistance with filing a discrimination complaint against Lakewood, Colorado if a petition is allowed to proceed to stop the purchase and rezoning on behalf of RMDS.
The NAD’s offer of its legal and advocacy resources is significant considering its position as the most powerful lobby for deaf and hard of hearing Americans and its successes in the courtroom including its ongoing suit against Netflix.