Blind protesters rally against alleged discrimination - NBC40.net

Blind protesters rally against alleged discrimination

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HAMILTON TWP. -

Chanting and waving signs, dozens of protesters from the National federation of the Blind gathered along the Black Horse Pike Thursday morning, coming to the aid of one of their own.

"Blind people, like everyone else, need and deserve an equal education to succeed,” said Chris Danielsen, Public Relations Director for the federation.

Michael Lanzilotti is currently pursuing a degree at Atlantic Cape Community College, but says the school recently gave him some unwelcome news.

"The school feels it's a liability for physically impaired citizens to be unaccompanied on campus unattended,” explained Lanzilotti.

"This whole thing about a blind person essentially needing a babysitter while they are on campus, is simply unacceptable in this day and age,” said Danielsen.

Lanzilotti also says the school uses inaccessible technology and has failed to provide him with usable textbooks and course materials.

"It's very disconcerting because I thought we've come such a long way with that and you know, the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed for everyone, to accommodate everyone,” said Lanzilotti.

Despite the NFB's allegations, the college says they're in complete compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

"We have, it's text-to-speech software that is available for the students and we offer regularly scheduled workshops to use that software as well as counselors and resource rooms for each campus,” said Michael Bruckler, Director of College Relations.

While they can’t comment on individual students, the college says its up to the student whether or not hey use a sighted aid on campus.

As for Lanzilotti, he plans to finish his degree at A.C.C.C. and work towards a law degree.

"It's a challenge but you know what, it won't keep me down. I'm a fighter so I intend to. Over, under, through and around and I will get there,” said Lanzilotti.

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