by: Kimberly Richardson Updated:
GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. - A family is outraged after they say their disabled child was kicked out of the play area at the Mall of Georgia because he was in a wheelchair.
The parents said a security guard told them that the chair is a safety hazard.
They couldn't believe it was happening because they said they've been to the play area several times before.
Their disabled son loves to watch the children play, but on their most recent visit, they were told that it's mall policy to keep wheelchairs completely out of the play area, even if the chair is off to the side.
Isaiah Tate, 5, is disabled and nonverbal, but he loves to sit close to a children's play area inside the Mall of Georgia.
“He laughs and giggles and he's so animated, you can tell that he really enjoys being there,” mother April Tate said.
He was at the mall with his parents on Friday afternoon until a security guard told them that they had to leave.
Cellphone video shows the guard saying,“The wheelchair is a safety hazard, and it's mall policy to keep them out of this area.”
Channel 2’s Tyisha Fernandes called the Mall of Georgia to find out its policy on wheelchairs.
Mall officials sent Channel 2 Action News the following statement:
"Mall of Georgia welcomes all shoppers, including those with disabilities, to enjoy our center and our children’s play area. Our expectation is to provide an inclusive environment that is safe, comfortable and accessible for everyone, and we have no policy that states otherwise. We have connected with Isaiah’s mother to rectify the unfortunate and unacceptable misunderstanding, and are addressing this with our mall team and Allied Barton, our security provider, to ensure this does not occur in the future."
“Everyone is a person regardless of race, color or disability. Everyone should be treated the same,” Isaiah's father, Dana Tate, said.
The parents told Fernandes that they go to the play area inside the mall all the time because their son loves it.
Now that mall officials are rectifying the situation, they said they will continue to take Isaiah there.
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