POLL: Six Flags bars disabled Millstone teen from thrill rides
Joseph Masci of Millstone has never let his disabilities get in the way of living.
Born without feet, with his right arm ending at the elbow and a malformed left hand, he’s still able to play soccer, run, and play football – with the help of a prosthetic.
And it wasn’t long ago when he and his family visited Six Flags Great Adventure that he was able to ride El Toro, which was one of the biggest wooden coasters in the country.
Fast forward to 2012 when another park was sued by an Iraqi war veteran who died on a ride a year earlier. This prompted Six Flags to tighten their restrictions on who would be allowed on their thrill rides.
Those restrictions unfortunately applied to Joseph, whose parents are now suing the park – saying, in effect, that their son should be allowed to get equal treatment as any other customer.
Joseph says that all disabled people can’t be treated by some blanket rule – and that each person should be evaluated on his or her own abilities.
"You can’t group all handicapped people the same, just like you can’t group everyone by race." "We’re not all the same. Every handicapped person is different, and I feel we have the right to at least be evaluated."
His lawyer, Anthony Brady, contends that Six Flags’ policies violate both the Americans with Disabilities Act and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination – and that Six Flags’ policies are more stringent and inflexible.
"They allow 3-year-olds on some of these rides with a responsible person." "They let quadriplegics on, and they have less function of their lower limbs than Joseph does. It’s just irrational."
Perhaps so, but representatives for the park say that the safety of their visitors is their ultimate concern.
Well, that and the possibility of a lawsuit should someone get seriously injured.
So now, what’s the logical conclusion to all this? Take the park to court and allow the teen to ride whatever ride he wants?
Have an evaluator on premises to individually determine who can or cannot ride?
Or just come to grips with the reality that there are some attractions that just might be too dangerous for someone with disabilities like Joseph - despite having been on some of their attractions in the past?
The park is correct to err on the side of caution – regardless of the pending lawsuit.
It sounds to me like either way they lose.