[Nfbc-info] Fitness & Athletic Equity Act

Jennifer Boylan jaboylan at sbcglobal.net
Mon Nov 17 22:34:39 UTC 2008

I haven't been able to find the text of the Act yet, but this article summarizes most of the agenda from the Maryland version.
Fitness and Athletics Equity
On July 21, 2008, surrounded by Maryland athletes playing bocce, wheelchair basketball, adaptive tennis, goal ball and other sports activities, Governor Martin O’Malley, joined representatives from the Maryland Department of Disabilities, the Maryland State Department of Education, and members of the Maryland disabilities community to celebrate the passage of the 2008 Maryland Fitness and Athletics Equity Act for Students with Disabilities. 

The event was the kickoff to a week of activities to promote and recognize the importance of the ADA, a major milestone in ensuring that more than 54 million Americans receive the same basic freedoms – independence, equal access, freedom of choice and inclusion – as everyone in our country.

“In Maryland we are deeply committed to the principles of the ADA and through the work of the Department of Disabilities and other state agencies, we will strive to expand opportunities for people with disabilities, giving them the chance to contribute to their community.” said Governor O’Malley who had signed the bill into law on May 14, 2008.  “When you provide young people the chance to participate in fitness activities you begin a pattern of ‘fitness for a lifetime’ that will benefit them throughout their lives.”

As part of the program, special guest and keynote speaker, Willie Stewart, paralympic athlete and winner of the 2007 New York City Triathlon, shared his experiences as a athlete with a disability and discussed “Armed for the Challenge” an award-winning documentary about his life that was screened as part of the event program.  The event also included special displays, demonstrations and information for students with disabilities and their families. 

The 2008 Maryland Fitness and Athletic Equity Act for Students with Disabilities ensures that students with disabilities are provided opportunities to participate in physical education, and athletic activities in Maryland schools.  With the passage of the legislation, the Maryland Department of Disabilities and the Maryland State Department of Education will work with local school jurisdictions to improve policies and implement the new statute and improvements to adaptive physical education and interscholastic athletic participation. 

“The Fitness and Athletic Equity Act assures that students with disabilities will no longer be just spectators.  They will have every opportunity to benefit from adaptive physical education, unified sports and try out for competitive sports,” Raggio added.

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