June 12th, 2013

Mentally Disabled Students Forced Into Labor At Rhode Island School

Mentally Disabled Students Forced Into Labor At Rhode Island School

A Providence, Rhode Island school geared toward the mentally disabled has allegedly forced students into manual labor for either little or no pay, violating the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to the Department of Justice. The school also transferred students to a similar program once they graduated without the option of integrated employment.

The school, Harold A. Birch Vocational School, operated a workshop that contracted work for the disabled students, segregating them from other students. The Justice Department released a letter on June 7 detailing the conditions the students were subjected to, according to WPRI News:

“Birch obtains contracts with private businesses to perform work, such as bagging, labeling, collating, and assembling jewelry,” the letter stated. “One former student stated that she was required to spend a much greater portion of her school day in the workshop, including full days, when the workshop had important production deadlines.”

Students were paid “subminimum or no wages” for their labor, according to the Justice Department report. The investigation found that students who were paid made between 50 cents and $2 an hour and sometimes worked weekends.

Once students graduated, they were given two options for employment, one of which was a program similar to the school’s workshop that offered “light assembling, sorting, various piecework tasks” and other services for companies. Students were placed in the program even though some had requested to work in a more integrated setting. The program similarly segregates them from other workers and pays them “extremely low” wages, according to the Justice Department’s report.

Workers at the adult program experienced fixed schedules and routines without the ability to opt out. Additionally, they were not allowed to interact with staff that did not have disabilities and did not have personal or private space.

The mayor of Providence, Angel Taveras, said he was first aware of the program when the Department of Justice began investigations in January. The school has since ceased the program.

Larry Roberti, principal at the Harold H. Birch Vocational School, resigned Monday after the allegations broke. The Providence school board, however, had scheduled a meeting in April to consider firing Roberti. He was ultimately not fired after city and school officials came to his defense.

Unfortunately, these students are not alone in being exploited for manual labor. On May 1, a federal judge ruled that a Texas company must pay $240 million to 32 disabled workers for neglect and abuse. Workers were both physically and mentally abused for over 40 years at the company and housed in squalor conditions.

Are you sure?

Keep talking. At least we'll know how stupid you are.

House GOPer: Rate of pregnancy from rape is “very low”

Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona was arguing against a rape and incest exception to an abortion ban

During a House Judiciary Committee debate on his measure to ban abortions after 20 weeks, Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., got a little Todd Akin-esque, arguing that the chances of a pregnancy resulting from rape are “very low,” and therefore a Democratic amendment that would create a rape and incest exception to the ban is irrelevant.

“Before, when my friends on the left side of the aisle here tried to make rape and incest the subject — because, you know, the incidence of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low,” Franks said, according to the Washington Post. He continued: “But when you make that exception, there’s usually a requirement to report the rape within 48 hours. And in this case that’s impossible because this is in the sixth month of gestation. And that’s what completely negates and vitiates the purpose for such an amendment.”

Source thinks they never learn do they?

Big ol' addendum: 

Gabriel Gomez, the Republican candidate in the special election for senator of Massachusetts, said that Republican Rep. Trent Franks is a “moron” for commenting that most rapes don’t result in pregnancy.

“I think that he’s a moron and he proves that stupid has no specific political affiliation,” Gomez told ABC News.

“I have no idea what goes into the mind of a moron like that,” he continued. “These kinds of comments only come from a moron and they shouldn’t be tolerated one bit.” (from here)

The agree with Mr. Gomez except for on thing:  while stupid has no specific political affiliation, ignorant comments like Franks do.  We all know it.  But I'll give Mr. Gomez credit for maybe trying to reduce partisanship by trying to make it about the facts not political parties.