Here is the article from the Tallahassee Democrat website: Protest at museum in aftermath of blind woman's treatment.A protest is scheduled for Friday afternoon to highlight an incident where a legally blind woman said she and her guide dog were harassed by contracted security guards at the Museum of Florida History.
Tiffany Baylor said when she visited an exhibit at the museum Oct. 1 security guards, U.S. Security Associates employees contracted with Department of Management Services, told her she could not have her guide dog in the museum.
She told the Democrat the guards harangued her 2-year-old black lab Lando as she viewed the exhibit and began demanding to see paperwork proving she was blind and required the dog for mobility.
"You know you're disabled, but you want to go through the community like everybody else," Baylor said. "When someone centers on that, but then harasses you openly in front of everybody, it's kind of humiliating."
The museum is housed in the bottom level of the Florida Department of State building on Bronough Street.
Baylor said Secretary of State Ken Detzner called her Thursday morning and apologized. She said Detzner told her he would advocate for disciplinary action and training for the security guards and offered to walk her through the museum next week.
Interfering with admittance to a public space by a person with a disability or their guide animal is a second-degree misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of 60 days.
By state law, disabled individuals are not required to show proof of their disability.
In a statement submitted to state officials about the incident, Baylor wrote, "the security guard continued and replied that he wanted to see proof that it was in fact a guide dog and not just a pet. I pulled the dog away from him a second time, and stated that there was a harness on the dog which clearly states 'Guide Dogs for the Blind, Inc.' He stated that the harness was not enough proof and that I needed to show him a card or papers as proof."
Baylor is legally blind and has tunnel vision in her left eye from birth defects related to rubella and glaucoma.
The Democrat has requested surveillance video and comment from DMS and Department of State officials while the incident is still under investigation.
Disability advocate J.R. Harding said there are no public portions of state buildings that are exempt from the Americans with Disabilities Act.
"Essentially all public building are open and service animals cannot be denied," Harding said, adding that officials can ask what service a guide animal provides, but not about an individual's disability.
In her statement Baylor said she moved away from the security guard, who again approached her asking for proof that the dog was a service animal, telling her he would "let her stay in here this time, but you cannot come back in here without papers for the dog."
Friday's protest is scheduled from 2 to 4 p.m. outside of the museum at 500 S. Bronough St. and will include members of the National Federation of the Blind and their service dogs.
Baylor said its not the policies of the R.A. Gray Building are not in question, it's those of the security company.
"The guards are the ones out of line," she said. Check back with Tallahassee.com for updates on this story. -----Original Message----- From: mccaulo <mccaulo@xxxxxxxxxxxx> To: tabi <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> Sent: Thu, Oct 9, 2014 8:51 am Subject: [tabi] Re: OCT 10 Guide Dog Protest I have attached section 413.08, Florida Statutes for your reading pleasure. See section (3) in general and section (3)(e) in particular, as well as section (4). I hope this helps contribute to any discussions held on Friday. 413.08. Rights of an individual with a disability; use of a service animal; discrimination in public employment or housing accommodations; penalties (1) As used in this section and s. 413.081, the term: (a) “Housing accommodation” means any real property or portion thereof which is used or occupied, or intended, arranged, or designed to be used or occupied, as the home, residence, or sleeping place of one or more persons, but does not include any single-family residence, the occupants of which rent, lease, or furnish for compensation not more than one room therein. (b) “Individual with a disability” means a person who is deaf, hard of hearing, blind, visually impaired, or otherwise physically disabled. As used in this paragraph, the term: 1. “Hard of hearing” means an individual who has suffered a permanent hearing impairment that is severe enough to necessitate the use of amplification devices to discriminate speech sounds in verbal communication. 2. “Physically disabled” means any person who has a physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. (c) “Public accommodation” means a common carrier, airplane, motor vehicle, railroad train, motor bus, streetcar, boat, or other public conveyance or mode of transportation; hotel; lodging place; place of public accommodation, amusement, or resort; and other places to which the general public is invited, subject only to the conditions and limitations established by law and applicable alike to all persons. (d) “Service animal” means an animal that is trained to perform tasks for an individual with a disability. The tasks may include, but are not limited to, guiding a person who is visually impaired or blind, alerting a person who is deaf or hard of hearing, pulling a wheelchair, assisting with mobility or balance, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, retrieving objects, or performing other special tasks. A service animal is not a pet. (2) An individual with a disability is entitled to full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, and privileges in all public accommodations. This section does not require any person, firm, business, or corporation, or any agent thereof, to modify or provide any vehicle, premises, facility, or service to a higher degree of accommodation than is required for a person not so disabled. (3) An individual with a disability has the right to be accompanied by a service animal in all areas of a public accommodation that the public or customers are normally permitted to occupy. (a) Documentation that the service animal is trained is not a precondition for providing service to an individual accompanied by a service animal. A public accommodation may ask if an animal is a service animal or what tasks the animal has been trained to perform in order to determine the difference between a service animal and a pet. (b) A public accommodation may not impose a deposit or surcharge on an individual with a disability as a precondition to permitting a service animal to accompany the individual with a disability, even if a deposit is routinely required for pets. (c) An individual with a disability is liable for damage caused by a service animal if it is the regular policy and practice of the public accommodation to charge nondisabled persons for damages caused by their pets. (d) The care or supervision of a service animal is the responsibility of the individual owner. A public accommodation is not required to provide care or food or a special location for the service animal or assistance with removing animal excrement. (e) A public accommodation may exclude or remove any animal from the premises, including a service animal, if the animal's behavior poses a direct threat to the health and safety of others. Allergies and fear of animals are not valid reasons for denying access or refusing service to an individual with a service animal. If a service animal is excluded or removed for being a direct threat to others, the public accommodation must provide the individual with a disability the option of continuing access to the public accommodation without having the service animal on the premises. (4) Any person, firm, or corporation, or the agent of any person, firm, or corporation, who denies or interferes with admittance to, or enjoyment of, a public accommodation or otherwise interferes with the rights of an individual with a disability or the trainer of a service animal while engaged in the training of such an animal pursuant to subsection (8), commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083. (5) It is the policy of this state that an individual with a disability be employed in the service of the state or political subdivisions of the state, in the public schools, and in all other employment supported in whole or in part by public funds, and an employer may not refuse employment to such a person on the basis of the disability alone, unless it is shown that the particular disability prevents the satisfactory performance of the work involved. (6) An individual with a disability is entitled to rent, lease, or purchase, as other members of the general public, any housing accommodations offered for rent, lease, or other compensation in this state, subject to the conditions and limitations established by law and applicable alike to all persons. (a) This section does not require any person renting, leasing, or otherwise providing real property for compensation to modify her or his property in any way or provide a higher degree of care for an individual with a disability than for a person who is not disabled. (b) An individual with a disability who has a service animal or who obtains a service animal is entitled to full and equal access to all housing accommodations provided for in this section, and such a person may not be required to pay extra compensation for the service animal. However, such a person is liable for any damage done to the premises or to another person on the premises by such an animal. A housing accommodation may request proof of compliance with vaccination requirements. (7) An employer covered under subsection (5) who discriminates against an individual with a disability in employment, unless it is shown that the particular disability prevents the satisfactory performance of the work involved, or any person, firm, or corporation, or the agent of any person, firm, or corporation, providing housing accommodations as provided in subsection (6) who discriminates against an individual with a disability, commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083. (8) Any trainer of a service animal, while engaged in the training of such an animal, has the same rights and privileges with respect to access to public facilities and the same liability for damage as is provided for those persons described in subsection (3) accompanied by service animals. -----Original Message----- From: Tinetta Cooper <tanetjec@xxxxxxxxx> To: tabi <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> Sent: Wed, Oct 8, 2014 8:35 pm Subject: [tabi] Re: OCT 10 Guide Dog Protest I’m sure many of us know Tiffany by the last name Wilson. Now she is going by Tiffany Baylor. I will be at the demonstration on Friday and hope many of you will join us! From: tabi-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:tabi-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Sila Miller Sent: Wednesday, October 08, 2014 8:11 PM To: Johnnie Slaton Cc: tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx Subject: [tabi] Re: OCT 10 Guide Dog Protest Hello everyone, Further information is below. Also, my sincere apologies to Tiffany for mistaking her last name. Sila FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Marion Gwizdala, President National Association of Guide dog Users National Federation of the Blind 813-626-2789 President@xxxxxxxxx NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND PROTESTS DISCRIMINATION BY STATE SECURITY CONTRACTORTallahassee, Fla. (October 7, 2014): On Friday, October 10, from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m., members of the National Federation of the Blind will gather outside the Museum of Florida History, located at 500 S. Bronough Street in Tallahassee, to protest an attempt to forcibly remove a blind woman who uses a guide dog from the museum. The incident occurred when Tiffany Baylor, a blind woman who uses a guide dog, visited the museum on the first day of Meet the Blind Month, a nationally recognized campaign of the National Federation of the Blind. Governor Rick Scott has also proclaimed October as Disability Awareness Month. Ms. Baylor was visiting the museum to view a special tactile quilt that was on display at the museum. One security officer grabbed the dog’s harness, asserting he needed more proof than her credible assurance, in spite of the fact that the harness was clearly marked with the words “Guide Dogs for the Blind”. When Ms. Baylor attempted to educate the officers about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Florida law regarding service animals, the officers asserted that those laws did not apply in state buildings.“We are here to demand that criminal charges be brought against the offending officers as set forth in Florida law,” said Marion Gwizdala, president of the National Association of Guide Dog Users (NAGDU), the National Federation of the Blind’s special interest group for guide dog users. “We also demand that they be appropriately disciplined by their employer, that clear written policies be created, and that all state staff and contract personnel receive training on these policies and the laws concerning service dogs.” Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act states, “No qualified individual with a disability shall, by reason of such disability, be excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of the services, programs, or activities of a public entity, or be subjected to discrimination by any such entity” and allows disabled individuals to be accompanied by a service dog in any place the general public is allowed. Florida statute makes it a second degree misdemeanor to interfere with the rights of a disabled individual or to obstruct, intimidate, or otherwise jeopardize the safety of a service animal or its user. The implementing regulations of the ADA and the pertinent sections of Florida statute are available upon request.# # # About the National Federation of the Blind The National Federation of the Blind knows that blindness is not the characteristic that defines you or your future. Every day we raise the expectations of blind people, because low expectations create obstacles between blind people and our dreams. You can live the life you want; blindness is not what holds you back. About the National Association of Guide Dog UsersThe National Association of Guide dog Users is the nation’s leading organization for blind people who use guide dogs. NAGDU is a strong and proud division of the National Federation of the Blind. NAGDU conducts public awareness campaigns on issues of guide dog use, provides advocacy support for guide dog handlers who face discrimination, supports sound policy and effective legislation to protect the rights of guide dog users, offers educational programs to school and civic organizations, and functions as an integral part of the National Federation of the Blind. For more information about the National Association of Guide Dog Users and to support our work, you can visit our website at HTTP://WWW.NAGDU.ORG or send an email message to Info@xxxxxxxxx.Check out the TABI resource web page at http://home.comcast.net/~acorange/TABI
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