Wheelchair-bound 11-year-old denied entry to museum & you won't believe why
Lexi Haas is an 11-year-old girl from Charlotte, North Carolina, who took a trip to Savannah, Georgia with her parents. On July 7, the family attempted to visit the Ships of the Sea Museum, but Lexi was barred from entering by a museum employee because she is in wheelchair. The employee claimed that Lexi's wheelchair could not go through the exhibit because it would "get the carpet dirty" and offered another wheelchair for use.
Lexi is in a specially designed wheelchair because she has kernicterus, a rare type of brain damage caused by high levels of bilirubin in the blood of newborns that in extreme cases (like Lexi's) can cause loss of control of motor skills. Lexi can not use a regular wheel chair, she has to use one that helps keep her strapped in.
When I first read about Lexi being denied access to the museum because her wheelchair might get the carpets dirty, I thought, That can't possibly be right! As a former museum employee, I cannot imagine any museum in this country that would have such a policy, it seems discriminatory and possibly illegal to me. Turns out, the employee who barred Lexi from entering the exhibit was wrong.
Museum curator Wendy Melton has since spoken to WBTV and explained that the employee had misinterpreted museum policy. The employee has been dismissed. The museum has apologized to the family and invited them to return, but Lexi has opted not to.
Her father, Dr. Ken Haas, and her mother, Susan Haas, are not planning to take legal action and Dr. Haas told the Huffington Post, "I didn't want anybody to get fired. I wanted them to update their policy and their way of thinking."
Image via WBTV