(Tampa, FL, 06/12/14) -- The Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Florida) today thanked the Hillsborough County School Board for answering our request to accommodate the hard of hearing by providing closed captioning of official school board meetings.
On April 2, 2014, CAIR -Florida Civil Rights Director Thania Diaz Clevenger sent a letter requesting that the "Hillsborough County School Board provide captioning at all school board meetings so that parents, like Ms. Tossoonian, students, and the general public who are deaf and or have hearing loss can understand what is being discussed." Ms. Clevenger explained that "under the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), 28 C.F.R. Section 25.160, her client and others with similar disabilities are entitled to auxiliary aids and services to enjoy the service, program or activity of a public entity."
CAIR Florida's mission is to protect the rights of all Americans including the disabled. CAIR-Florida's Chief Executive Director, Hassan Shibly stated: "We would like to thank the Hillsborough County School Board for responding quickly to our request to have captioning for all their School Board Meetings moving forward. This is a significant victory for the rights of the hard of hearing in Hillsborough County, FL. CAIR Florida is proud to offer free legal representation to protect the rights of all Americans and looks forward to continuing our work with state and local government to ensure the rights of all Floridians, regardless of their race, religion, or disability, are protected."
CAIR Florida's client Ms. Linda Tossoonian said, "This is a big moment for us all. Captioning will open the world of the school board meetings to the people who are deaf, hard of hearing, as well as many others. It has become a necessity for us to be able to understand and follow the dialogue, even catch some comments. It allows us to feel included. I am excited and happy."
CAIR Florida's Civil Rights Director Thania Clevenger said, "We are very pleased with the implementation and quality of the captioning system adopted of the Hillsborough County School Board. It fills me with such joy to know that my client and all other deaf and hard of hearing residents of Hillsborough County will be able to have full access and inclusion to issues that are so important to their children. It is our sincere hope that all counties who have not already implemented a captioning system follow the example of the Hillsborough County School Board."
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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CONTACT: CAIR Florida Chief Executive Director Hassan Shibly, 813-541-4321, firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Florida Civil Rights Director Thania Clevenger, 813-514-1414 ex. 1503, email@example.com