Problem Solvers: handicapped 9 year old denied elevator access

Problem Solvers
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DENVER — An Aurora family is looking for answers after their daughter – who suffers from cerebral palsy – was denied access to an elevator at the Bellco Theatre during her brother’s graduation.

Bellco Theatre is located at the Colorado Convention Center.

“Everybody was watching us,” Ann Spurgeon, the girl’s mother, said.

Spurgeon ended up carrying her nine year old daughter down the stairs after being denied access to the elevator several times.

“She was in a dress and with it being theatre seating I’m sure her little behind was exposed,” Spurgeon said.

When FOX31 Denver spoke to Sammie, the girl who endured this, she could barely keep her emotions together. “All I wanted was to see my brother graduate,” Sammie cried.

Sammie’s brother is now a graduate at Vista Peak High School.

When the Problem Solvers went to the Bellco Theatre, our request for an interview was denied.

However a spokesman told us by phone that security told the family they could not use the elevator because no seats were available. Security then directed the family to other ADA seats in another part of the theatre.

Joe Cathcart, Sammie’s father, says there is no way that is true – showing a picture of the family at their seats once Sammie was carried. “There were several seats that were never even taken that were handicap accessible,” Cathcart said.

“I want this to never happen again,” Cathcart added.

Aurora Schools issued this statement: “We are committed to serving all of our families’ needs and, in this case, made plans for wheelchair accessibility before graduation. We apologize for any inconvenience the Cathcart family experienced. We have since met with the family to address their concerns. Graduation ceremonies are a time for celebration and we work hard to shine the spotlight on our graduates and their families.”

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