State Sen. Daylin Leach last week visited the Take Back Your Neighborhood meeting to announce he will sponsor a bill backed by civic association member Nancy Ostroff that would require schools to teach about disabilities in kindergarten through third grade.
Leach represents a district based in western Montgomery County, but lived for a time at 6299 Kindred St. in Castor Gardens and attended Spruance Elementary School for a couple of years.
Ostroff called Leach “my hero.” She is a retired teacher who was twice rear-ended while driving, and suffered a crushed spinal cord. She decided to push disabilities education after seeing a video on Facebook that showed a boy with autism being hit with a board and having a nail stuck in the back of his head.
Ostroff has written a curriculum, Shine a Light on Disabilities, and three related short books.
Among those in attendance at the May 20 meeting were Lisa Howell-Baxter, the book artist; Chris Hess, her SCORE Philadelphia mentor; and Elaine Thress, her proofreader.
In March, Ostroff and her team traveled to Harrisburg to seek support.
“Nancy’s story was extremely inspiring,” Leach said. “She inspired me on this issue.”
Rep. Dan Miller, of western Pennsylvania, already has a similar bill in the House.
Leach said he and Miller will hold a news conference on the bills sometime in June in Harrisburg, and Ostroff plans to attend.
Leach cautioned that, annually, while about 3,600 bills are introduced at the state level, only about 200 get a vote.
Ostroff urged people to call Rep. Curt Sonney, chairman of the House Education Committee, at 717-783-9087; Sen. Wayne Langerholc, chairman of the Senate Education Committee, at 717-787-5400; and state Sen. Tina Tartaglione, at 215-533-0440.
Representatives from The Arc of Philadelphia also addressed the civic meeting. The group advocates for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Call 215-229-4550.
In other news from the meeting, the civic association donated red and blue Adirondack chairs for the Max Myers swimming pool deck.
Also, 2nd Police District community relations officer Mark Mroz spoke of the district’s first homicide of 2019, a road-rage shooting on the 4800 block of Roosevelt Blvd. (near Summerdale Avenue).
Mroz mentioned an arrest was made after someone bit an officer in the chest on the 5500 block of Summerdale Ave.
A 28-year-old woman was arrested in a stabbing on the 1000 block of Comly St. (near Summerdale Avenue).
A man walking his dog on the 1300 block of Longshore Ave. claimed that someone stole his cell phone, $500 and the keys to his Maserati.
Police are looking for a Hispanic man who used a gun to try to rob the 7-Eleven at 6800 Bustleton Ave. The man threatened to shoot, but fled when an alarm sounded.
There were eight recent thefts from autos. Mroz said the cars were unlocked or windows rolled down in each incident. A gun was taken in one of the thefts.
And, the Penn Medicine Orphan Disease Center invites the public to take part in the Million Dollar Bike Ride on Saturday, June 8, at 7:30 a.m., at Highland Park, 31st and Chestnut streets. There are 13-, 34- and 72-mile options. To register, visit milliondollarbikeride.org. A “Bike Then Brunch” will follow at the White Dog Cafe, 3420 Sansom St. ••