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Month: October 2016

Where do Candidates Stand on Police Violence and Crime Against People with Disabilities?

Washington, Oct. 31 – Nearly half of all people killed by police in the U.S. have a disability. Yesterday Terrance Coleman, a black man with paranoia and schizophrenia, was shot and killed by two police officers in Boston. Coleman’s mother had called for an ambulance to take her son to a hospital and the police officers arrived to accompany the EMTs. They shot him when he refused to leave with the EMTs; there are conflicting reports if Coleman had touched a knife that was on a nearby kitchen table.

The week prior Deborah Danner, a black woman with schizophrenia, was shot and killed by a New York City police sergeant. The police knew of her disability and had been called to her apartment before, but this time the officer did not follow protocol for dealing with someone with a mental illness.

While the vast majority of officers only want to protect the community they patrol, officers not properly trained in dealing with people with disabilities are bound to make mistakes. Resources such as the new Police-Mental Health Collaboration Toolkit have been designed to help police learn how to interact with people who have disabilities.

Violence against people with disabilities is a larger issue than just police brutality, however. People with disabilities, particularly those with cognitive disabilities, often are targets for bullying, assault and robbery. The most recent statistics available found that the rate of violent crime against people with disabilities is twice that of violence against people without disabilities.

As part of the #PwDsVote Disability Questionnaire, the nonpartisan nonprofit disability organization RespectAbility asked candidates running for Senate or Governor about their plans to address the issue of violence against people with disabilities. Every candidate was given an equal opportunity to respond and if they are not listed, it is because they declined to answer. The quotes in this article are the candidates’ answers to question 11 in the gubernatorial/senate questionnaire: “People with disabilities are twice as likely to be victims of crime as those without disabilities. People with disabilities also are far more likely to suffer from police violence, partially because manifestations of disability can be misunderstood as defiant behavior. Do you have a plan to address these issues?” This was adapted from a similar question, number nine, in the presidential questionnaire.

The majority of both Republicans (66 percent) and Democrats (74 percent) acknowledged a need for more police training and education about how to handle situations that involve people with disabilities.

“News reports over the past few years have included tragic accounts of the deaths of people with disabilities during confrontations with police, and this is something that we must take seriously,” said Sen. Richard Burr, who is a Republican running for re-election in North Carolina. “I support full funding for programs to train our law enforcement officers so that they are properly prepared for interactions with people with disabilities.”

Burr’s opponent, Democrat State Rep. Deborah Ross, also called for more training. “We must increase police training on how to work with people suffering from mental illnesses, reduced cognitive abilities, or other disabilities.” Ross replied. “We must also protect people with disabilities from discrimination, stigma, poor health, and violent crime.”

Check out all of the candidates’ full responses below:

Candidates Discuss Plans for Students with Disabilities

Washington, Oct. 31 – Only 65 percent of youth with disabilities graduate high school, 19 percent less than students without disabilities, found a White House study earlier this month. Youth who do not graduate high school are more likely to be involved in the criminal justice system and have a more difficult time entering the workforce.

More than 6.5 million students in public education receive services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), including special education or other accommodations to help them succeed. Studies have shown, however, that students in higher education have a harder time accessing proper accommodations.

As part of the #PwDsVote Disability Questionnaire, the nonpartisan nonprofit disability organization RespectAbility asked candidates running for president, senate or governor about their plans for the improving education for youth with disabilities. Every candidate was given an equal opportunity to respond and if they are not listed, it is because they declined to answer.

The quotes in this article are the candidates’ answers to question six in the gubernatorial/senate questionnaire: “Do you have a plan to enable students with disabilities, including those from historically marginalized communities and backgrounds, to receive the diagnosis, Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and accommodations/services they need to succeed in school and be prepared for competitive employment?” This was adapted from a similar question, number five, in the presidential questionnaire.

While Democrats and Republicans are divided on many education specifics, when it comes to educating youth with disabilities, candidates from both sides of the aisle spoke of their support for IDEA, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and Individualized Education Plans (IEPs).

“Last year, I worked with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass a much needed update to our nation’s education policy, and the Every Student Succeeds Act was signed into law in December 2015,” responded Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who is a Republican running for re-election in New Hampshire. “This important legislation will truly ensure that every student has the opportunities they need to succeed in the classroom and be prepared for their futures.”

“My first position in public service was serving on the Advisory Committee to the Adequacy in Education and Finance Commission, and I have continued this advocacy throughout my time in public office,” wrote current New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan, a Democrat running for the senate seat. “I will continue to push for these priorities in the U.S. Senate, and I will work to fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to make good on Congress’ commitment to support special education.”

You can read the candidates’ full responses below:

Unveiling 51 State Voter Guides

Washington, Oct. 27 – While the presidential election has taken up much of the news cycle, attention also is shifting to who will control the Senate. As such, RespectAbility has reached out to candidates running for Senate as well as Governor in the 2016 elections with the #PwDsVote Disability Campaign Questionnaire…

North Carolina’s Senate & Gubernatorial Races Offer Opportunity to Highlight Disability Rights

Washington, Oct. 21 – As voters get ready to head to the polls in North Carolina, RespectAbility has released its North Carolina Disability Voter guide for the upcoming senate, gubernatorial and presidential races. Democrat hopeful Deborah Ross is challenging incumbent Republican Sen. Richard Burr for the Senate seat representing North…

New Mexico’s Disability Voters Guide Released

Washington, Oct. 21 – As voters get ready to head to the polls in New Mexico, RespectAbility is releasing its New Mexico Disability Voter Guide for the upcoming presidential election. Democrat Hillary Clinton is the only presidential candidate to have completed the #PwDsVote Disability Campaign Questionnaire. The #PwDsVote 2016 Campaign…

North Carolina’s Linda Coleman Completes #PwDsVote Campaign Questionnaire

Washington, Oct. 21 – RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization working to empower people with disabilities to achieve the American dream, has asked Senate and gubernatorial candidates on both sides of the aisle to fill out a questionnaire on disability issues. Other down ballot candidates who requested a copy of the questionnaire also were…

North Carolina’s Bruce Davis Completes #PwDsVote Campaign Questionnaire

Washington, Oct. 21 – RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization working to empower people with disabilities to achieve the American dream, has asked Senate and gubernatorial candidates on both sides of the aisle to fill out a questionnaire on disability issues. Other down ballot candidates who requested a copy of the questionnaire also were…

Jill Stein Talks Disability Rights in Texas

Washington, Oct. 20 – Until recently, when searching for where Green Party candidate Jill Stein stood on key disability issues, there are a number of pieces about her supposed views about vaccines and their link to autism, but little else was found. Multiple disability organizations have asked Stein to complete…

Hawaii’s Senate Race Offers Opportunity to Highlight Disability Rights

Washington, Oct. 19 – As voters get ready to head to the polls in Hawaii, RespectAbility has released its Hawaii Disability Voter Guide for the upcoming senate and presidential races. Republican John Carroll, who is challenging incumbent Democrat Sen. Brian Schatz, as well as presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, has completed the…

Delaware’s Gubernatorial Race Offers Opportunity to Highlight Disability Rights

Washington, Oct. 19 – As voters get ready to head to the polls in Delaware, RespectAbility has released its Delaware Disability Voter Guide for the upcoming gubernatorial and presidential races. Republican state Sen. Colin Bonini and Democratic Rep. John Carney are competing to become Delaware’s next governor. Whomever wins will have…

Washington, D.C., Disability Voters Guide Released

Washington, Oct. 19 – As voters get ready to head to the polls in Washington, D.C., RespectAbility is releasing its Washington, D.C.,’s Disability Voter Guide for the upcoming presidential election. Democrat Hillary Clinton has completed the #PwDsVote Disability Campaign Questionnaire, but Republican Donald Trump has yet to do so. The…

Virginia Disability Voters Guide Released

Washington, Oct. 19 – As voters get ready to head to the polls in Virginia, RespectAbility is releasing its Virginia’s Disability Voter Guide for the upcoming presidential election. Democrat Hillary Clinton has completed the #PwDsVote Disability Campaign Questionnaire, but Republican Donald Trump has yet to do so. The #PwDsVote 2016…

Texas Disability Voters Guide Released

Washington, Oct. 19 – As voters get ready to head to the polls in Texas, RespectAbility is releasing its Texas Disability Voter Guide for the upcoming presidential election. Democrat Hillary Clinton has completed the #PwDsVote Disability Campaign Questionnaire, but Republican Donald Trump has yet to do so. The #PwDsVote 2016…

Illinois Senate Race Offers Opportunity to Highlight Disability Rights

Washington, Oct. 18 – As voters get ready to head to the polls in Illinois, RespectAbility has released its Illinois Disability Voter Guide for the upcoming senate and presidential races. Democrat Tammy Duckworth, who is challenging incumbent Republican Sen. Mark Kirk, as well as presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, all have completed…

Washington’s Senate & Gubernatorial Races Offer Opportunity to Highlight Disability Rights

Washington, Oct. 18 – As voters get ready to head to the polls in Washington, RespectAbility has released its Washington Disability Voter Guide for the upcoming senate, gubernatorial, and presidential races. Republican Bill Bryant is challenging incumbent Democrat Gov. Jay Inslee while Republican Chris Vance is challenging incumbent Sen. Patty Murray…

Alabama’s Senate Race Offers Opportunity to Highlight Disability Rights

Washington, Oct. 18 – As voters get ready to head to the polls in Alabama, RespectAbility has released its Alabama Disability Voter Guide for the upcoming senate and presidential races. Democrat Ron Crumpton, who is challenging incumbent Republican Sen. Richard Shelby, as well as presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, has completed the…

Mississippi’s Disability Voters Guide Released

Washington, Oct. 18 – As voters get ready to head to the polls in Mississippi, RespectAbility is releasing its Mississippi Disability Voter Guide for the upcoming presidential election. Democrat Hillary Clinton has completed the #PwDsVote Disability Campaign Questionnaire, but Republican Donald Trump has yet to do so. The #PwDsVote 2016 Campaign…

Nebraska’s Disability Voters Guide Released

Washington, Oct. 18 – As voters get ready to head to the polls in Nebraska, RespectAbility is releasing its Nebraska Disability Voter Guide for the upcoming presidential election. Democrat Hillary Clinton has completed the #PwDsVote Disability Campaign Questionnaire, but Republican Donald Trump has yet to do so. The #PwDsVote 2016 Campaign…

Tennessee’s Disability Voters Guide Released

Washington, Oct. 18 – As voters get ready to head to the polls in Tennessee, RespectAbility is releasing its Tennessee Disability Voter Guide for the upcoming presidential election. Democrat Hillary Clinton has completed the #PwDsVote Disability Campaign Questionnaire, but Republican Donald Trump has yet to do so. The #PwDsVote 2016 Campaign…

Pennsylvania Voter Guide Highlights Disability Issues

Washington, Oct. 17 – As voters get ready to head to the polls in Pennsylvania, RespectAbility has released its Pennsylvania Disability Voter Guide for the upcoming senate and presidential races. Democrat Katie McGinty, who is challenging incumbent Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, as well as presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, has completed the…