Friday, March 07, 2008

FRIDA news links

for the week 02/22/08 - 03/07/08

The Winston-Salem Journal reports that the democratic candidate for Governor, Beverley Purdeu, has pledged to seek financial compensation for the victims of North Carolina's now-defunct forcible-sterlization program. More than 7,600 people were sterilized between 1929 and 1974 under a eugenics program operated by the state.

A report just published in the UK claims that adults with learning difficulties often suffer a "denial of fundamental human rights". It claims that the picture in the UK is a "harrowing" one, with adults suffering neglect and abuse, and also finds that the children of parents with difficulties were more likely to be taken into care.The adults interviewed by the committee claimed they had little confidence in the criminal system and raised concerns of disability hate crime.

A man and two youths have been jailed for life for the murder of Brent Martin in August 2007. Martin, 23, who had learning difficulties, died from a massive injury he sustained to his head during the attack. He also suffered at least 18 separate blows to his head and his neck. Brent has been described as a "gentle and caring person" who simply wanted to make friends. RIP Brent.

A British nurse, Colin Norris, has been convicted of killing four elderly women patients by giving them overdoses of the diabetes drug insulin. None of the women were diabetics. The women were Ethel Hall, 86, from Leeds; Doris Ludlam, 80, from West Yorkshire; Bridget Bourke, 88, from Leeds; and Irene Crookes, 79, from Leeds. Norris was also convicted of attempting to kill Vera Wilby, 90, also from Leeds.

Elizabeth 'Betty' Bacon, disability rights activist and former director of Disabled Student Services at San Diego State University, died on February 24 after a brief illness. She was 61. At her retirement celebration in November 2004, members of the disabled community spoke to Bacon's "unwavering commitment to the right of individuals with disabilities, both at the university and in the community."

The sexual abuse of a disabled girl on a Metro school bus in Nasville has spurred legislative action.

A San Francisco supervisor who uses a wheelchair will sue the city after her collegues rejected plans to build a wheelchair ramp to the podium used by the Board of Supervisors president. According to supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier who has used used a wheelchair since she was 13, "The chamber is the people's room ... and if there's a place in the entire city that should be accessible to everyone, it is the chamber."

Parents of children with disabilities attending the Mapaville State School in Jefferson County are pulling their children from class following allegations of abuse and neglect.

Haleigh Poutre, now 14 years old, continues to recover at Franciscon Hospital for Children in New England. Haleigh was placed on life support in 2005 after she sustained a severe injury to her brain after being beaten by her stepfather, Jason Strickland. The state was given permission to remove Haleigh from life support in July 2006, but she showed signs of improvement before actions were taken. Plans to remove her from life support were halted. Its been reported that Haleigh is now eating, communicates with a keyboard, and can hold limited conversations. According to court records, she "makes statements alleging abuse" by Strickland, who goes to trial in October.