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 www.wh.gov/QSan.
Learn more about the process and view other petitions at www.petitions.whitehouse.gov.
“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.”