From the Chicago Tribune: Megan Runnion, who is deaf, can't understand the hallway chatter of her classmates at her elementary school, but for six years her Girl Scout troop gave her a social life in the hearing world.
Girl Scouts council paid for a sign-language interpreter to attend
Megan's Girl Scout meetings, a camping trip and other outings.
a federal lawsuit filed Wednesday on the 12-year-old's behalf alleged
that the Girl Scouts abruptly disbanded Megan's Schaumburg troop early
this year in retaliation for her mother's efforts to keep the
100-year-old organization paying for the interpreter.
The suit alleged that the
Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana excluded Megan
because of her disability in violation of the federal Rehabilitation
"She can't be part of the group if she doesn't understand what's being said," said her mother, Edie Runnion....
Megan, who has been deaf since birth, joined
the Girl Scouts in kindergarten, her mother said. At the time, her
mother requested that an interpreter be present at Scouting activities,
and the Girl Scouts agreed to that, she said.But in the fall of
2011, the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana told
Runnion that the "council does not pay for these services," the lawsuit
alleged. Runnion made another request in October for her daughter to
have an interpreter for a rock climbing event the next month.
the local council complied only after Equip for Equality, a
Chicago-based advocacy group for people with physical or mental
disabilities, and the National Association for the Deaf sent a letter
requesting an interpreter for the event, according to the lawsuit.
Girl Scouts called the measure temporary and said it was in the process
of forming a uniform policy, the lawsuit alleged. In January, Megan and
her mother were at a troop dinner when the leaders broke the news that
the troop was disbanding immediately, Runnion said.
"Everybody was shocked," she said. "The girls loved the Girl Scout troop." http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-girl-scouts-deaf-lawsuit-0802-20120802,0,7032878.story
Here is the problem I have with the lawsuit. How come the mother didn't help her daughter out by signing for her at some or all of the meetings?
Also, why didn't the family help the Girl Scouts by offering to teach sign language to members of the Troop. If Megan's family would have helped in these ways, the lawsuit would not be needed.
When a family has a disabled child, they need to meet halfway with nonprofits like the Girl Scouts and this family appears they just wanted to take and take.
So, what could have done to solve the situation:
1. The family helps with interpretation.
2. Girl Scouts could have taught girls from the Scout Troop basic sign language.
3. Groups like Equip for Equality (who had to put their 2 cents in on the subject) and other groups for deaf could have helped by volunteering to interpret.
4. Recruited a high school student to help with interpreting.
In this case, it seems tome the family is more at fault than the Girl Scouts. The family just cannot sit around and do nothing and expect others to do all the work. Hopefully, the Girls Scouts prevail in this case.