Who is Jordan Block? Disabled Chicago boy asked to leave park because of his wheelchair
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS: A ten-year-old, wheelchair-bound boy was not allowed to enter a park in Chicago because a security guard thought it would pose a risk to other visitors. Last week, Jordan Block went to the Crown Fountain at Millennium Park with his mother when he was asked to leave by the guard.
Jordan's mother Megan Block told CBS 2 on Thursday, July 8, “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.’” She said: “I was like, ‘This is unacceptable!’” She also stated that she wanted her son to understand whatever he was told was wrong. “You know, you’re able to do this, and it’s perfect for you, and we’re being told, ‘No!'” Megan added.
Who is Jordan Block?
Jordan suffers from spinal muscular atrophy. According to his mother, he has been using the wheelchair since he was just two. The little boy is a frequent visitor to the fountain and had never faced any issues earlier. But after facing the ban last week, he said, “Yeah, I said, like, I've been here before and have been able to do it. There's not much else I can do, and that is something I can do – so it's fun for me.”
Jordan added: “I felt excluded from doing it.” However, he still went to the foundation and claimed that he was not hurt and also no one else was. His mother, Megan, later took to Facebook to express her frustration over the incident. She wrote: “Honestly Chicago, you could do better. Here my child is, unable to get wet here on this hot 90 degree day because him driving his wheelchair isn’t allowed. The ‘security guard’ told us to get away from the water because my ten year old is a “liability” there. If another child runs into him and gets hurt, that would be a problem…. How about this? 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.”
She continued, “Thank you Chicago for making my child cry today. He’s gone through more these past 2 months than you could imagine, and you’re not going to allow my child to cool off like the other able bodied children??? You have the audacity to tell my child he can go by the water without his chair. Sure thing sir! My son will just suddenly gain the ability to walk, and go in the water himself. What an absolute freaking joke. But let’s not forget… he didn’t say a single thing to the adult woman in the wheelchair by the water. I’m sick of this country fighting for rights for everyone else EXCEPT the disabled community. Chicago, YOU CAN DO BETTER.”
Millennium Park has released a statement apologizing for the incident. It read, “We were very sorry to hear about Jordan’s experience at Millennium Park and we 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. 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. We believe this was an isolated incident. We have addressed the issue with the specific security officer and with the entire security team.”
Meanwhile, according to the Millennial Park's website, the fountain “was designed without edges or deep water areas so a wheelchair can easily enter the fountain area and participate with full inclusion.”
It states that the public place also offers wheelchair seating spaces, which are “available in both the free seating area and the membership/reserved seating area.”