Jordan Block Chicago boy with spinal muscular atrophy made to leave park after being told that his wheelchair posed a risk to himself and other children.
Jordan Block, 10, was visiting Crown Fountain at Millennium Park after a doctor’s appointment last week when the guard approached his mother and asked them to leave.
Block said she and Jordan frequently took trips to the fountain from their home in Warrenville and have never had an issue before.
It was suppose to be a treat on a hot summer’s day, but that too was short lived.
‘Surprised,’ Jordan told CBS 2. ‘Yeah, I said, like, I’ve been here before and have been able to do it.’
Prejudice disabled face
A security guard explained to Jordan’s mom that he was a liability, on the grounds that his wheelchair could cause him to hurt himself or others.
‘He’s had his chair since he was 2 years old and (the guard) said: “Well, if another kid runs into Jordan, that could create problems for us,”‘ Jordan’s mother, Megan Block told CBS2.
Recounting the incident, Jordan said he was ‘surprised’ by the guard’s comments, adding: ‘Yeah, I said, like, I’ve been here before and have been able to do it.’
Jordan said that because of his wheelchair limitations, visiting the park is one of the few activities he enjoys.
‘There’s not much else I can do, and that is something I can do – so it’s fun for me,’ Jordan said.
Jordan went in anyway. He was not hurt. No one else was either.
Jordan’s mother in a July 6 Facebook post, wrote that her son was unable to cool down on a 90 degree day ‘because him driving a wheelchair isn’t allowed’.
Equal rights for all, including the disabled
‘How about not EXCLUDING DISABLED CHILDREN FROM THINGS, watching your own kids and making sure they don’t run into my child who knows how to drive his chair,’ Block wrote. ‘Thank you Chicago for making my son cry today.’
Added Jordan’s mom: ‘I’m sick of this country fighting for rights for everyone else EXCEPT the disabled community.
Jordan said he felt ‘excluded’ and decided to go into the fountain regardless. He said he wasn’t hurt and neither was anyone else.
According to the Millennial Park’s website, the fountain is wheelchair accessible and designed without edges or deep water areas so that individuals in wheelchairs can ‘easily enter the fountain area and participate with full inclusion’.
The website also states there are no limitations for where wheelchairs are allowed within the park.
The city of Chicago has since spoke with the Titan Security guard and is addressing the issue as an ‘isolated incident’.
‘I want it to be fair for everyone.’
The park released a statement saying they were ‘sorry to hear about Jordan’s experience and have been in touch with the family to apologize’.
‘Millennium Park was designed to be universally accessible, and Access is one of our department’s core values,’ the statement read.
‘Working closely with the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, we are committed to ensuring that everyone in our city has equal access to arts and culture – including Crown Fountain.’
Jordan hopes the incident doesn’t occur again and that everyone is treated fairly in the future.
‘I don’t want it to happen to anyone else,’ he said. ‘I want it to be fair for everyone.’