Fair Board Blocks Teen Because Of Disability
January 10, 2003
LAKE WALES, FLORIDA--Justin Ryan Kelly has been told he could not participate in the Polk County Youth Fair because he has cerebral palsy and uses a walker.
Kelly, a 17-year-old high school senior, has been involved in Future Farmers of American (FFA) since he was a freshman. He has been an important member of the steer-judging team and has been involved in other activities in the agricultural program.
He planned to show a pig named "Bacon" that he has raised, but the fair board considers him a liability because of his disability and will not allow him to participate.
"It's a liability thing," said one board member. "For kids on a walker, they can get hurt in a pen where there's 15 or 20 hogs in there at the time."
Justin's dad pointed out that Justin had no problems when he was in pens with 1,200-pound cattle as a member of the steer-judging team.
His family plans to meet with the board next Thursday to discuss the issue and try to get them to change their position.
"'Bake A Cake', he's told" (Polk County News Chief)