Atlantic-Cape Community College Accused By Activists - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Atlantic-Cape Community College Accused By Activists Of Discriminating The Blind

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Atlantic-Cape Community College is under fire, accused of discriminating against a current blind student and another blind student, who was considering attending the school.

The National Federation for the Blind has taken up the cause. Most of the demonstrators cannot see, but they demand to be heard.

Fox 29's Bruce Gordon has the report.

They lined the entrance to Atlantic-Cape Community College on the Black Horse Pike to protest what they call discrimination against two blind men.

36-year-old Anthony Lanzilotti uses a cane to get around. He says he's had to withdraw from classes and that his graduation from Atlantic-Cape is in jeopardy, largely because of a policy spelled out to him by school officials whenever he's on campus.

"‘You need an aide at all times," said Lanzilotti.

When asked if it's a physical person with you, he said, "Absolutely. You have to have a physical person. You must be accompanied at all times. The school feels it's a liability."

Another student, 19-year-old Mitchell Cossaboon, says he's considering Atlantic-Cape, but says he, too has been told he needs an aide to attend classes.

"I honestly don't know whether I want to come here, because I don't feel right being discriminated against," said Cossaboon.

They say the school does not appear to have any ill-will toward the blind.

"As in most cases of what we call 'discrimination' against blind people, the discrimination is primarily in the result, not in the intent. Often, it's ignorance of what needs to be done," said protester Chris Danielsen

The college says they were unaware of a controversy until they learned of this mid-day protest.

Michael Bruckler, a college spokesperson, told us he cannot discuss individual students, but that, in general,

"Atlantic Cape does not mandate aides on campus. It's solely up to the individual, whether they want an aide on campus, or not."

Protesters also accuse the school of failing to make available, textbooks or e-books for the blind.

Atlantic-Cape denies that charge as well.

Both sides are scheduled to meet, face to face, late this month, to settle what may be a misunderstanding or something far more troubling.

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