Father Builds Daughter a Wheelchair Ramp Only to Get Fined

The city of Bardstown, Ky. may be discriminating against handicapped children based on the recent lawsuit it filed against the Hadley family for building their daughter a wheelchair ramp without a permit.

Six-year-old Faith was born with a rare birth defect and relies on artificial legs and a wheelchair to move around. This summer, Stephanie and Scott Hadley's landlord and some volunteers helped them build a ramp outside their home to enable Faith to enter and exit the house by herself. It meant a whole new life for Faith.

To the Planning and Zoning Commission for Nelson County, it meant a breach of law. They sent three letters to the landlord demanding them to reconfigure the ramp to the length of the front step, or apply for a permit waiver that would cost them $200. If not, the ramp would have to come down by Friday.


Rules are rules, and they exist to protect people. The Planning Commission needs to get its priorities right. It has good intentions to uphold the law, but they are barging in and making things difficult for everyone involved, even themselves. The Hadleys have contacted the Americans with Disabilities Association to determine if the law is discriminating against Faith.

If the ramp poses no harm to the area, and makes life a lot easier for a handicapped child and her parents, the commission would do better to leave it be and focus more of its time and resources on making the city more handicap-friendly. Put aside the bureaucracy, and it's a win-win situation.

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Melanie Oi Ling Leung

A recent journalism graduate from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, with a passion for understanding the world through reporting and travelling.

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