by Lauryn Bray
Coming Into the Light: An Examination of Restraint and Isolation Practices in Washington Schools is a recent report published by ACLU of Washington and Disability Rights Washington (DRW) detailing findings that school districts throughout Washington State frequently utilize restraint and isolation tactics as disciplinary practices. The report identifies Black students, students with disabilities, and students in foster care as demographics disproportionately affected by these practices. State law says that incidents of restraint are permitted only in the event of an emergency in which the student is at imminent risk of inflicting serious physical harm to themselves or to another student, while isolation is banned entirely. While, according to the report, incidents of restraint and isolation remain prevalent throughout the state, lawyer Andrea Kadlec says there is misunderstanding around what exactly constitutes restraint and isolation.
Continue reading Black, Disabled, and Foster Students Most Likely to Be Isolated or Restrained in Washington Schools
“I Want to Go Home” Advocacy Report
The following is an abbreviated and lightly edited chapter from a new systemic advocacy report published by the Office of the Developmental Disabilities Ombuds (DD Ombuds), “‘I Want to Go Home’: Reevaluating DDA’s Children’s Services to Prevent Hospitalization and Out-of-State Placement.” In 2017, the DD Ombuds was created by the Washington State Legislature to improve the lives of persons with developmental disabilities. The DD Ombuds monitors services provided to people with developmental disabilities, reviews facilities and residences where services are provided, resolves complaints about services, and issues reports on systemic issues within the service system. To read the complete report, visit the DD Ombuds website.
Continue reading OPINION | Expensive Out-of-State Placements Separate Developmentally Disabled Youth From Their Families
by Ingrid Elliott, Rich Stolz, Anna Zivarts
Less than three months ago, a heatwave like we’ve never seen before gripped the Pacific Northwest killing over 1,200 people in Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia. Black, Brown, and poor people were hit first and worst — low-income neighborhoods recorded by far the highest temperatures — but everyone suffered in one of our region’s worst natural disasters.
Scientists called the heat dome “virtually impossible without human-caused climate change.” An August Seattle Times piece noted that extreme heat events in the Northwest become 14 times more likely with climate change. We made this reality. How can we pivot to a different one?
Continue reading OPINION: With the Right Transportation Policies, We Can Pivot to a New Climate Reality
by Mark Van Streefkerk
For Seattle to meet its carbon-neutral goal, we need to take an honest look at how we get from one place to another. Burning fossil fuels, like gasoline and diesel for motor vehicles, emits greenhouse gasses. In Seattle, roadway transportation makes up 40% of greenhouse gas emissions. For the U.S., emissions from transportation account for 29% of total greenhouse gases. Reducing our reliance on cars and gasoline plays an important role in reducing our carbon footprint. The good news is that everyday choices to walk, bike, scoot, or roll instead of driving can significantly reduce the greenhouse gasses we produce. Earlier this year a study found that ditching the car for one day out of the week can reduce personal carbon dioxide emissions by a quarter. Swapping even one trip in a car with walking or rolling makes a significant impact over time.
Continue reading The South End Guide to Reducing Our Carbon Footprint: Safety to Walk and Roll
by Laszlo Jajczay
Disability Rights Washington, a nonprofit that protects the rights of people with disabilities, noticed a trend in the media industry that disturbed them. There weren’t any stories told about people in the disability community and the structural inequities in education, jobs, and other aspects of their lives.
“We weren’t seeing disability well represented in any kind of media, and the thought was that with the equity of social media, we could produce our own media by and for folks with disabilities,” said creative director Allexa Laycock.
So Disability Rights Washington created the media advocacy project Rooted in Rights to fill the gap in coverage.
Continue reading Rooted in Rights Aims to Create Inclusive Space for Individuals With Disabilities
by Jack Russillo
Over the holiday weekend, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) will close a one-mile section of Lake Washington Boulevard — from Mount Baker Park to Genesee Park — to cars and open it up for pedestrians to recreate freely. The closure will begin “around noon” on Friday, May 28, when SDOT crews put up barriers on the roadway. The road will be open to cars again on the morning of Tuesday, June 1.
“We hear from a lot of people who love it and that it just feels like freedom for them to have this space to walk, bike, walk with strollers, roller skate, scoot on scooters, and just be with the open space of Lake Washington,” said Sara Colling, a senior outreach lead at SDOT. “It just opens up a lot of opportunities. With that, there are tradeoffs, which is why the decision-making process is complicated.”
Continue reading Lake Washington Boulevard Closed Memorial Day Weekend, Summer Plans Not Decided
by Guy Oron
On Tuesday, March 9, a coalition of disability justice and environmental justice groups launched a campaign for more investment in sidewalks and public transportation across Washington State. The campaign, spearheaded by the nonprofit advocacy organizations Disability Rights Washington and Front and Centered, held a press conference in Tacoma on Tuesday.
To draw attention to the need for better pedestrian infrastructure, the press conference was held at the No. 53 bus stop across the street from the apartment of Krystal Monteros, who is the vice-chair of the Tacoma Area Commission on Disabilities. Portions of the street have no sidewalk but instead are lined with gravel pathways.
Continue reading Organizations Launch Campaign for Sidewalks and Transit Over Highways
by Rich Stolz and Anna Zivarts
Following years of local advocacy and heightened scrutiny by the movement for Black lives around enforcement practices, Sound Transit has announced a new approach to fare enforcement on public transit: the fare ambassador pilot program. This pivot from a punitive system to a supportive one is long overdue. Sound Transit and other agencies must see this process through and fully divorce its transit fare system from the court system. Failure to pay for a transit ticket — whether due to poverty or misunderstanding — should never place transit riders at risk for devastating legal, financial, or physical harm.
Continue reading OPINION: No One Should Go to Court Because They Can’t Afford a Transit Ticket