While Aase was trying to calm down her daughter, she said, an employee of Rust Library demanded that Aase remove her daughter from the building. Then, Aase said, the employee threatened to do so herself. After that, she threatened to call police.
What could have been a passing tantrum has now become a fight over the rights of the disabled, a fight that Aase, well versed in such matters, has vowed to continue. She has filed two complaints under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) — one with Loudoun County and one with the U.S. Department of Justice.
Loudoun officials, citing the confidentiality of personnel matters, said they could not discuss the March 15 incident described in Aase’s complaint.
Aase said it began when her daughter, who likes to borrow romance novels and CDs from the library, became upset and started crying when told she could not take out any more books. Aase said the library employee told her to take her daughter from the building because she was causing a disturbance. The librarian then said that she would remove Shannon Aase herself if her mother did not, Linda Aase said.
“I told [the library employee] that she was not going to put her hands on my daughter,” Aase said. The employee threatened to call the police, she said.
“That immediately raised a red flag, especially given the recent Robert Saylor incident,” she said, referring to the case of a 26 year-old Frederick man with Down syndrome who died after being taken into police custody. After about 10 minutes, Aase took her daughter outside, ending the confrontation.
To Aase, what happened at the library represents a potentially dangerous lack of knowledge of federal guidelines and appropriate practices when interacting with people with disabilities. She is convinced that the incident was a violation of Title II of the Americans With Disabilities Act, a statute requiring that state and local government entities make “reasonable modifications in policies, practices, and procedures” to accommodate people with disabilities.
But Loudoun officials reviewed Aase’s complaint and concluded that there had been no ADA violation and that “personnel acted within the parameters of Loudoun County Public Library policies.”
Aase refused to take Loudoun’s ruling as a final answer.
“I don’t care about the library’s practices. Federal law trumps their practices,” she said. She promptly filed a complaint with the civil rights division of the Department of Justice.
A representative of the civil rights division said that Aase’s complaint is under review, a process that could take up to three months.