Skyline High School student petitions for disability rights

January 22, 2013

By Hannah Grandine

On Dec. 4, when the U.S. Senate failed to ratify a United Nations Treaty, the Convention for Rights and Persons with Disabilities, Skyline High School senior Joshua Schaier had something to say about it.

Schaier said he was upset by the rejection of the treaty, which is meant to protect the basic human rights of people with disabilities around the world.

“I didn’t think it was right that the United States fail in their duty to help protect people everywhere, including people with disabilities,” Schaier said.

So, Schaier took action and started a petition on the White House website. The aim of the petition is to “Urge the 113th Congress to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.”

On the Web

Sign Skyline High School senior Joshua Schaier’s petition at

Learn more about the process and view other petitions at

“It was my hope that if I got enough public support, maybe things would start to happen,” Schaier said.

The online petition needs at least 150 signatures to be made available to the general public, and after that, a total of 25,000 for an official response to the executive branch, though there have been responses to petitions with fewer signatures in the past.

Currently, the petition only has about 30 signatures. It will be taken down from the website Jan. 28. Schaier hopes that as many people as possible will help his cause and sign the petition.

“Signing the petition is very quick and very easy, all you need to do is make an account,” Schaier said. “You can sign this petition and any other petition that catches your eye.”

Schaier believes that as a country, all people should care about the fact that we have not ratified the treaty.

“Right now, the message that we’re sending is, ‘We don’t care.’” Schaier said. “It is our duty to care about every single person, especially those who other people may not care about so much.”

As a young man with Asperger syndrome, Schaier feels a deep conviction to help others with disabilities. However, he said he believes that if he did not have a disability himself, he would still be passionate about the issue.

“I would still feel the same way, because this isn’t just a question of disabilities, it’s about human rights,” Schaier said. “I think it’s the duty of everyone to care about that sort of thing.”

Schaier said he hopes more people will sign his petition before the deadline. Even if it is unsuccessful, he hopes that there will be more awareness and people will still try to make a difference.

“Anywhere you go, there are going to be people that are unfriendly to people who are different, that’s just the way things are,” Schaier said. “But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t do something about it. I think discrimination, no matter what kind, is wrong, and it should be worked against. And that’s what I’m trying to do.”

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5 Responses to “Skyline High School student petitions for disability rights”

  1. Anonymous on January 22nd, 2013 9:30 pm

    The total amount of petition signatures needed now is 100,000 for an official response from the White House…

  2. Administrator on January 23rd, 2013 8:37 am

    The 100,000-signature threshold applies only to petitions created after the White House announced the change Jan. 15.

  3. Jim Strickland on January 28th, 2013 5:34 pm

    Way to go, Joshua! I, too, was very disappointed that the Senate failed to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. I applaud your courage and commitment to this worthy cause. I just found out about your petition and tried to sign it, but it has already been removed. But please don’t get discouraged. This convention needs to be ratified!

    I teach students with disabilities at Marysville Pilchuck High School in Marysville, WA. Let’s think about how we can generate support for your goal of the 113th Congress ratifying the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. You can contact me at Keep up the great work!

  4. Andrea S. on January 29th, 2013 1:44 pm

    The campaign for US ratification of the CRPD lives on! The best way to get involved is to monitor the website for the US International Council on Disabilities (USICD) for ongoing updates and news. Or if this is not enough, then you can communicate with USICD staff about other ways you can help:

    Also monitor @USICD in twitter and/or link to their facebook page at

  5. Erica on January 30th, 2013 10:03 am

    Can the petition be reposted? I didn’t hear about it until today Jan 30th. It was only available until Jan 28th.

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