Local mom pushes Mission business to be more inclusive after 5-year-old in wheelchair left out

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MISSION, Kan. — A family from Centerville was hoping to have fun at a Mission, Kansas, indoor playground Sunday.

Instead, it ended in tears — and the business apologizing.

SuperKidz Club is said to be a place where all kids are able to play and feel like super heroes. One mom said that wasn’t the case when her family visited. 

Jesslyn Buie tried to enter the “soft play area” with her 5-year-old, Steele, who has epilepsy and uses a wheelchair. 

He wanted to watch his 1-year-old sister play. But they were stopped. 

5-year-old Steele

“I can’t just like leave one out in the area by himself, my son, and go in and take care of the other one,” Buie said. “That shouldn’t even be something that’s a thing.”

Buie said the manager pointed out a sign that states, “No strollers allowed inside the playground area,” telling her that means wheelchairs, too.

Their reasoning, at the time, was dirty wheels.

“It hurt because he’s already so, like, not able to do so much,” Buie said. “He likes to watch other kids have fun, and so it made me cry, just sad that he wasn’t able to have even a similar experience to his sister or even any of the other kids that were there.”

FOX4 reached out to SuperKidz Club. They referred us to the company’s apologetic Facebook post that defends company policy. 

“Those policies include not allowing shoes, sharp objects or metal objects (including strollers or wheelchairs) in the soft play area,” the business noted.

It said it was to reduce the chance a child could be injured.

“I feel like issues could happen with kids running into each other just as well as kids could run into a chair, or an adult or any other moving toy that’s in the area,” Buie said, “and he wouldn’t even be moving.”

In the Facebook post, SuperKidz Club said, “We are taking a strong look at our soft play area policies that affect wheelchair access.”

“I’m just upset about it still because I don’t feel like they understand why it’s a big deal,” Buie said crying. “It’s a huge deal to somebody who’s not able to do anything.”

The Americans with Disabilities Act states that small businesses must allow visitors with wheelchairs, “unless the business can demonstrate that the particular type of device cannot be accommodated because of legitimate safety requirements.”

“I understand them being scared about kids running into the chair or whatever,” Buie said. “If you’re that scared of it then make an area where kids who are in chairs are able to sit and stay. So they are able to be in the area and experience and see.”

The State of Kansas declined to comment on its own small business access policies, only saying the state has aligned its statute with federal law.

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