Consider all facts before commenting

After reading both the article and the editorial regarding the relocation of residents with volatile disabilities in West Seneca group homes, and as a person with a developmental disability who fought for the rights guaranteed under the Americans with Disabilities Act, I have a simple request to make to my fellow Western New York neighbors: take a breath.

The ADA is meant to treat people equally with respect and dignity. The individuals under discussion, however, are apparently at odds with both sides of that ideal.

Having dealt with the criminal justice system for whatever offenses were committed, they are being located in group homes with more supervision than any nondisabled ex-offender in similar circumstances would receive, including coded electronic locks, door alarms and cameras for observation within their own homes, and staff to monitor them 24 hours a day. All this while still complying with any other regulation that may be based on the offense. Yet community reports dismiss this, with an expectation that the community get special notification, above and beyond the levels that are already provided in state law for any other ex-offender, which would have provided no warning. We can’t have it both ways.

The editorial also seems to reference that spots were taken from other people who are on waiting lists for placement. The state and federal governments have made no secret of the fact that more restrictive placements, such as those in developmental centers, are a priority when considering limited community opportunities.

If this type of logic is acceptable when referring to people with disabilities, I wonder which minority group it would be applied to next? Common sense demands we consider all the facts before we ask for explanations.

Todd G. Vaarwerk

Director, Advocacy and Public

Policy, Western New York

Independent Living