Mother claims Dorney Park discriminated against daughter with Down Syndrome

Posted | Contributed by Jeff

Lynnette Prescott, of Macungie, Lehigh County, said her two-year-old daughter was kept off a ride at Dorney Park on Friday because she has Down syndrome. Isabella, who is small for her age, was prevented from riding the Road Rally ride in the Planet Snoopy section of the park, a ride her mom said Isabella has ridden before.

Read more and see video from WFMZ/Allentown.

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Jeff's avatar

This doesn't sound like discrimination at all. Inconsistent policy enforcement, sure, but not discrimination. We saw pretty recently what happens when you make exceptions.

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Lord Gonchar's avatar

Yeah. Seems to be a trend where guests seem to think they know best. Imagine the outrage if they let her ride and she was injured.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

CoasterDiscern's avatar

Yup, and General Manager McClure said this ride requires ridders to be able to stand and brace themselves. Moreover, the ride attendant also said the little girl couldn't walk; at least on her own.

The ride attendant didn't feel it was a safe situation. I say good for her, she made the right choice, and a good one considering whats been going on over at DL.

Mom feels that her and her child have been insulted. I say better then being injured.

Life is tough!

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I have a feeling you are right. I would be willing to bet that just about every major park, and even some smaller ones had a ride operator "meeting" of some sort shortly after the Darien Lake incidnet to drive home the point "THIS is why we have all these rules", closely followed by "If you have any doubt, whatsoever, about a guest's ability to ride safely, don't let them"

That could easily explain this, as well as the incident mentioned in the Darien Lake thread about a guest who went to another park, shortly after the Darien Lake incident and was turned away from a ride, they had ridden numerous times before, but under stricter application of the missing limbs polilcy now fail to meet the safety criteria for.

Which will ultimately lead to even more detailed safety signs. (as if they aren't an unreadable mess already). The days of leavng it at "Those with recent surgery, back, neck or shoulder pains, headachees, heart conditions, or are pregnanet shall not ride" as being the boilerplate exclusions are over as parks (and their safety experts/risk mgmt/ lawyers come up with detailed and objectively enforceable rules that can be plainly posted. In a way Cedar Fair, and other parks, already do this with the more detailed Rider Safety Guide one can pick up at Guest Relations.

May not be able to leagally say someone with a certain condition cannot ride due to ADA, but if you can post something to the effect "Rider must be able to sit upright unsupported" is an objectively enforceable behavior.

In the same post, I can also feel for the mother, who knows she (and her daughter) have a harder than average road ahead of them, and just wants to be able to try to make life as normal as possible for the her daughter by going to the local amusement park, just like everybody else. I also know how emotionally charged one can get when you feel like you or anybody in your family is getting slighted in any way.

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She was told her daughter could not ride one ride. Was she allowed to ride others? Did she ride others? The story doesn't tell us that, but if she did, then I see no case of discrimination whatsoever.

It's heartbreaking that not all people have the same abilities and can't enjoy all the activities most other people do. But it doesn't mean that we should pretend they can, and expect everyone else to bend rules or make unreasonable accommodations so they can be "just like everybody else." Especially in the case of moving machinery that has no concept of abilities or disabilities of its users.

"Prescott said she is taking legal action against the park, but said she really just wants an apology."

That's my favorite part. Let's see if she withdraws the suit if and when she does get an apology.

The amusement park rises bold and are huddled on the beach in a mist

This doesn't suprise me and unfortunately isn't a rare occurance that someone is claiming this. I can't even begin to describe how many times guests yelled at me over the years saying I was discriminating against them for enforcing safety policies.

What she should be upset about is that the park allowed her child to be put in danger all those times by allowing her to ride when she clearly didn't meet the minimum requirements.

ApolloAndy's avatar

But doesn't an apology imply taking responsibility for wrongdoing? I can't imagine in what universe the park did something wrong in this case. Especially after what happened at DL.

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Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

The park did nothing wrong by not allowing this kid on the ride. The park should sue the mother for harassment instead.

Raven-Phile's avatar

Stuff like this is the exact reason IANAL, to be honest.

Tekwardo's avatar

To Jeff and the mods I copy/pasted in the wrong thread so enjoy that post of me being an ass :-).

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Jeff's avatar

Well done, sir!

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy

CoasterDemon's avatar

Raven-Phile said:
Stuff like this is the exact reason IANAL, to be honest.

What the heck is IANAL ?


A great deal of the general public just don't understand ride safety, period. We have overheard parents chewing out ops who won't let their child who is well below the min. height requirement ride, for example.

Raven-Phile's avatar

CoasterDemon said:

What the heck is IANAL ?

I'm not sure you're ready for such knowledge. :)

I Am Not A Lawyer

Jeff's avatar

I hear there's something called a search engine. You type stuff in, it gives you information about it!

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy

Raven-Phile's avatar

The Googles, zey do nothing!

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