Dear Davis Farmland,
You made a mistake. A big mistake! Big! Huge! By not allowing Austin and other disabled adolescents and adults into your farm you have unknowingly opened up a Pandora’s Box. This box may only be closed if you reconsider your policies and change your ways. Otherwise, the only thing that may close will be your business.
In case you are not familiar with what I am referring to, here it is:
Here is your reply:
Here is the mother’s clarification:
Then the media caught wind of your story and Turtle Boy chimed in. While I do not approve of his crass word choice or vulgar reference to children, his message is clear. You made a mistake! Big Mistake! Huge!
But Davis Farmland, the thing about mistakes is that we all make them. This particular mistake is not about which side is “right” or “wrong”. It is about what is best for both sides. Clearly, this incident has brought up the need for disabled adults to spend time at your farm. You know more than I do about the therapeutic benefits of spending time with animals. This is probably one of the very reasons you began opening your farm to the public in the first place.
On your end, you have a right to provide a safe experience for all of your guests. No one is arguing that point with you and there are many grateful parents out there that visit your farm for that very reason.
So, here is what I am proposing you do: Think about the words of Carol Dweck. This experience is a chance to grow. Open up your farm on a certain day or days for a specified time period to enable disabled adolescents and adults, as well as their caregivers, to experience the wonder of your farm. Better yet, give 50% off admission to caregivers during this time. (Caregivers are either employed or financially strapped parents.) Provide experiences geared towards people with disabilities. Do some research, create programs! Not only will you increase your business, you will provide this population with a service they crave. It will be less chaotic because there will not be young children running around every where, a benefit for those who become overwhelmed in highly stimulating environments. In addition, it will be a time for them to socialize with others. You will have a win-win situation.
Facebook and Turtle Boy are already asking people to ban your business, which I am very sure is the last thing you want to happen right now. Austin and many others just want to go to your farm. Learn from your mistake. Apologize. Amend your policies. Do the right thing.
A Former Parent and Teacher Patron
But I will reconsider if you change your ways…